Sunday, September 25, 2011


You know that unsettling feeling. You are standing at the cash register. You just swiped your debit or credit card. You have typed in the magic code. You are waiting. Waiting... waiting... almost there... Approved!

If ever you want to experience acceptance, do this. In a topsy-turvy economy where people are losing their jobs, homes, and minds, an approval rating can do wonders for serotonin levels and self-esteem.

A clever friend of mine recently told me that it is better to work from a surplus than a deficit. That helped to put the approval rating into perspective. To one operating from a surplus, an approval rating confirms what he already knows. This describes the grounded person who exhibits quiet calm, minds his own business, and experiences little emotional stress "one way or the other."

To one operating from a deficit, an approval rating is essentially all he has to rely upon. He constantly needs the affirmation of others to tell him that he is good enough or smart enough or that everything will be OK. That he is acceptable and accepted. I am not criticizing one or the other (I think it fair to say that we experience cycles of both). It is just a helpful rule to keep in mind to understand why you might be feeling exceptionally confident or why you might feel that you are in a season of minimizing contact with the world.

You are more vulnerable when you want so badly to be in the club that you might do things conscience wouldn't dictate under normal circumstances. And you are less vulnerable when rituals or rites of inclusion do not alter your core values one way or the other. 

Which reminds me of some great advice I heard in a movie once. Don't drink to be happy. Drink to be happier. And if it makes any difference, whoever reads this has my great big stamp of approval.

Welcome to the club!

Friday, September 23, 2011


Chris passed on September 23, 2010. A Thursday. I had been watching THE OFFICE when I was notified. The "Benihana Christmas" episode. 

Chris had been my student at Stone Table in my tenth year of having founded the school. He had transferred to Centennial High for his Junior year. I took him out to eat the Saturday before in Belle Meade with Brett Manning, Leah, and cousin Mike. 

I don't really want to say anything. I just want to show a few photos of Chris. In memory.

Peace and comfort to Chris' parents, siblings, and extended loved ones.

Friday, September 2, 2011


I laughed all day after seeing the facebook group "Forget About Categories: Here's to Being a Member of the Human Race" with a meager membership of 29 souls. I laughed until bed time. 

After lying there thinking how much fun it was to experience sustainable laughter all day, my spasms subsided to a giggle to a snicker to that brooding silence before you "go under."

I thought about 29 reasons we rarely recognize the total of all people on this earth to be "human." In no particular order:

1. Religion.
2. Nation.
3. Politic.
4. Race.
5. Region.
6. Ethnicity.
7. Vocation.
8. Philosophy.
9. Economy.
10. Language.
11. Gender.
12. Continent.
13. Education.
14. Body Type.
15. Book.
16. Age.
17. Neighborhood.
18. Proximity.
19. Death.
20. Newspaper.
21. Music.
22. Convenience.
23. Style.
24. Border.
25. Water.
26. Food.
27. Smell.
28. Aesthetic.
29. Fear.

There were more, but what dominated my last thoughts that night was my having entered five, Hispanic grocery stores two weeks before. The clerks behind their respective counters snatched pained peeks at me like I was Homeland Security. Two clerks hyperventilated when it was my turn at the counter, face to face with them, them pretending they had no idea what I was talking about or pantomiming. 

Yeah, I left each of those stores feeling like their worlds were made whole again only when I exited the building and their glass doors slapped my butt on the way out.

Sure, it doesn't substantially mean anything, but it would certainly be a nice, virtual exercise to join the group "Forget About Categories: Here's to Being a Member of the Human Race." Just for once, recognize that every breathing human on this planet right this very second is the largest group to which any of us will ever belong. Just once.

Click here

I just joined. Member 30.

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