A Bit About Me

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Along with my daily duties as founder and head writer of HumorMeOnline.com, in 2003, I took the Grand Prize in the Bulwer-Lytton Fiction Contest (also known as the "It Was a Dark and Stormy Night" competition). I've also been a contributor to "The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson" and the web's "The Late Show with David Letterman". I also occupy my time writing three blogs, "Blogged Down at the Moment", "Brit Word of the Day" and "Production Numbers"...and my off-time is spent contemplating in an "on again/off again" fashion...my feable attempts at writing any one of a dozen books. I would love to write professionally one day...and by that I mean "actually get a paycheck".

13 June 2010

Of Ripples of Butterfly Wings

I decided I would re-run this blog because someone told me earlier tonight they always liked this one...and over the years I've gotten many compliments about it. Perhaps the majority of you haven't read it (as my friend pointed out)...so here it is again - originally posted 30 March 2007. I hope you'll enjoy it.

Daily things that are within our ability to do...yet we don't do them...and wonder what would have happened had we gone out of the way, if but for a minute, to take the time to do them...

Things whiz by my car window as I drive my daughter to school, they whiz by when I go to Fresh Market to buy food, things whiz by everyone on their daily day-to-day doings. We must look as bewildering and complicated from above as an ant colony looks to us from our perspective as well. We all have our destinations...we are determined to get there, our aim is predetermined...we shouldn't waver from it...we must be good scout, soldier, and worker ants...don't deviate from our mission. "Git 'er done!"

But at what cost? Is there a cost...is there just a tiny little butterfly effect that we might cause if we alter our daily doings...just how far would those ripples be felt...and most of all, would it be worth it in the end?

I was driving my daughter to school this morning, down Congressman Dickinson Drive...and right before I passed the Montgomery Humane Shelter on the right side of the road, there was a dog sitting on the side of the road...a big dog...a brown mastiff-looking lug of a dog...the canine equivalent of those not-so-bright mugs that protect the corrupt bosses in those old 30s/40s black/white films. But he wasn't a mean-looking type...he's one of those lovable mugs - just out of his element. I could tell he was lost...but I had to get my daughter to her school...she couldn't be late and I can't look up the shelter's number and drive at the same time. I COULD...but I refuse to drive that way...everyone should refuse such things.

I made it to her school - just in time and exited out of the parking lot - I take a different route back, so I don't know what became of that dog. Had I made a call and let them know about the dog...had I flapped my wings a little...they would have flapped theirs...and a whole other outcome would have come about. But I don't know the outcome...not that I would have known the alternate outcome. It's unlikely I would have called back to check on his status at the shelter..."don't ask...you might not want them to tell". But...I won't ask here as well...I might not want to hear it either. My choice to remain out of it...to step off that mental platform that calls each of us to do more than we do...called to me stronger than the one which would have gotten me involved.

The dog is now a blur as I go past, continuing on to my journey...my journey which is set, in mental concrete...that shouldn't have cracks in it. There must be no cracks...continue looking...but don't touch...don't make waves with those wings. I turn left onto Coliseum Blvd...there's a man, looking sad, a white plastic grocery store bag in his hand...bending down picking up trash from his yard. You can tell this is a daily stop on his personal journey...his that is also probably set. No verbal exchanges I'm sure from any passersby...do any of the littering culprits ever drive by to catch him picking up THEIR stuff they threw in his yard because they didn't want to clutter up their own cars? Do they drive by and snicker? Do they repeatedly throw the stuff in his yard all the time? Perhaps they work at the same store his grocery bag, now used as a trash bag, is from. I thought of that all in that millisecond time-frame that seemed to freeze-frame and then speed up again, like it does in films. As with the dog...my first and final contact with him. I'm almost to my destination - I'll not be late after all...keep it all in the parameters of my initial plan...don't get sidetracked.

I drop my daughter off...a few kids are being let out of their parents cars and running toward the school...you aren't supposed to do that - they are supposed to be accompanied by a parent when they are in the parking lot...they aren't being good ants...they aren't helping their colony. The small children are oblivious to the fact that the majority of the cars dashing in and out of the parking lot can't see them over the top of their hoods...let alone a rear-view image...but they still scurry. The cars, seemingly having their own agendas, must get to the next destination...a series of stops...move along...next station...move along again...and nothing is supposed to slow them down. But there are tiny little delicate cogs that can throw that system totally out of whack...these children, who probably have heard that old proverb..."children should be seen and not heard"...don't realize they are neither seen nor heard in a parking lot among the massive metal giants. Giants that can squoosh a child like a bug. So, I've decided today...I will be their champion...I will come to their aid...I will notify the school about these goings on before I hear what we all don't want to hear. I will pick up my phone, I will get online and write an email, I will dare to be that ripple that happens when I start to flap my wings...I will alight on my mental platform...I will take the time and I WILL be heard. It's only just a whisper I know...but a whisper can stop an accident, save a dog, or the person's life who might end up swerving to avoid hitting it. Whispers have started and stopped wars...whispers are much stronger than you can imagine.

Just think if we all spoke up from a whisper once in a while and beat our little wings until they made ripples...and if you ever saw ripples in water when you toss in even the tiniest pebble, you know they just keep going out further and further. I believe even a seemingly inconsequential phone call, intervention, deviation from our set norm...can set things in motion we've never dreamt of...and perhaps a deed we do will soar...even without anyone even knowing it.


  1. It's an interesting concept, every decision we make (even the decision to do nothing) is a choice . . . and there are millions of possibilities. I once told my kids that if my 5th grade band director didn't talk me out of quitting trumpet, they never would've been born because I met their mother in orchestra when I was in college. Every decision has consequences.

    Of course my son then said, "Great! Now I can't do anything . . . bran muffin or blueberry? MY FUTURE KIDS' LIVES MAY DEPEND ON THIS DECISION!"


  2. Wonderful piece.

    I am reminded of the Thomas Merton prayer...

    "My Lord God, I have no idea where I am going. I do not see the road ahead of me. I cannot know for certain where it will end. Nor do I really know myself, and the fact that I think I am following your will does not mean that I am actually doing so. But I believe that the desire to please you does in fact please you, and I hope that I have that desire in all that I am doing. And I know that if I do this, you will lead me by the right road although I may
    know nothing about it. Therefore will I trust you always though I may seem to be lost and in the shadow of death, I will not fear, for you are ever with me and you will never leave me to face my perils alone."

    I am always grateful to be reminded of that prayer, so I thank you for that.

    And, of course, you give me more food for thought, which is another blessing bestowed. Thanks, again!

  3. Chris - Yes, kids will find a way to annoy you with anything you tell them. ;)

    Suldog - Thank you for reading and complimenting me. :)

  4. There was an "exorbirant" amount of "...'s" in your blog. Just sayin'...


  5. I really did like this blog...makes you stop and think