I Think I’m Gonna Start Wearing a Bowtie

A dog with a bow tie sitting on top of a table.

I remarked to my wife recently that I was going to start wearing bow-ties. She rolled her eyes around in their sockets and said determinedly, “No, you don’t want to do thatâ€.  I meekly asked why and she responded, “It’ll make your double chin more prominentâ€.  End of discussion.  She knows exactly what to say to get me to agree with her.  Of course, that allows me to whip-out one of my favorite expressions, “I have no control over my life!†  As she walks away, I detect a slight grin and I know she’s thinking, “That’s the way it should beâ€.  Like most men, when rebuffed by their wife, I mused that I really didn’t want to do it that badly anyway.  I learned a long time ago that I should pick carefully the battles I wanted to fight.  That bodes well for all of us, avoiding arguments over small, inconsequential things.  In 1996, my ex-wife and I were in the midst of finalizing our divorce and we, along with our lawyers, were negotiating the distribution of the furniture she and I owned.  We were sitting at the table arguing over a shop vacuum used in the garage.  Finally, her lawyer said to me, “Mr. Hale, how much is that thing worth?† I responded, “about $25â€.  “Do you realize that you are paying us (the lawyers) $125/hour?†I immediately gave the Shop Vac to my ex-wife.

That lesson has stayed with me.  I’m passing it on to you for free.  But heck, you probably already knew that.

Baltasar Gracian said it eloquently, “There is no greater panacea for every kind of folly than common sense.â€

A good friend of ours (Louise) was told recently that her cancer had returned, and she needed to start chemo again.  Long ago I fondly nicknamed her “Chatty†because she would call and ask for my wife just because she wanted to chat.  She and her husband (Don) have traveled with us to many places (England, France, Spain, Portugal, Bermuda, etc.) and we have always enjoyed their company.  A few years ago, she started the yearly tradition of inviting us to their home in January for brunch.  It became one of our favorite things to do, good food and good conversation with old friends, how could it get any better?  It couldn’t.  But it could get worse and it did.  The news that she needed to start chemo again saddened us, not because we feel she can’t win this battle, but because we regret having to see our dear friend struggle so much.   It has been said that your five best friends are about the same age as you are and probably have the same eating habits.  I don’t know if that’s 100% true, but it is, in my opinion, pretty darn close.  My five best friends enjoy eating out at least once a week, going to church on Sunday, going out to a good movie, watching live entertainment and engaging in good conversation. My 5 best friends enjoy my company as much as I enjoy theirs, I hope.  And, as you have probably figured out by now, Don & Louise are two of my five best friends.  My friend has been fighting this battle for some time now and she shows no signs of defeat, nor pessimism.   I may not be one of her top five friends but I am one of her most loyal supporters.  She knows that she can always count on my wife and I to be there for her.  Henry Wadsworth Longfellow said, “A torn jacket is soon mended; but hard words bruise the heart of a child.† Being told that our friend’s cancer has returned has certainly bruised our hearts. 

I just finished listening to a lecture in which the speaker cautioned everyone to be aware of the fallacy that we are products of our genes and our age.  Although, I don’t think we can ignore those two parts of our makeup, I agree that we, perhaps, place too much emphasis on them.  Lifestyle, in my opinion, determines about 75% of our health.  The most important players in our life, according to me, is our weight, the amount of sleep we get each night and the amount of exercise we get each day.

The more we are overweight the greater risks we have for health problems as we get older.  And, we have been told by health professionals all of our life, that we need to get at least seven hours of rest per night.  I have been overweight about 15 pounds for most of my life, but I have always averaged seven hours of sleep per night and exercised daily.  So, I am doing two thirds of what I should do for a long, healthy life.  The biggest factor in my weight is eating out.  As long as we eat at home my wife insures that I eat healthy and that my portions are reasonable.  When we go out to eat, I determine what I eat, my wife really frowns when I order French fries, and the restaurant determines the portion.  Unfortunately, American restaurants are prone to server extremely large portions, and I am determined to eat it all.  I have recently devised a strategy, wherein I automatically divide the portion into two equal halves, eat one half and take the other home.  It’ll be interesting to see how that turns out 😊.  I will let you know the results in a few months.

“He who is not very strong in memory should not meddle with lying.”…. Michel de Montaigne

That’s why I always try to be truthful.

👀 I read that the five most commonly used words in the English language are (in order of frequency): the, of, to, and, aâ€.

To see if that was true for me I analyzed this missive and found that I used “I†52 times, “to†40 times, “that†36 times, “and†33 times, “of & the†32 times.  I was certainly surprised to see how many times I used those words and it made me realize that I wasn’t striving to make my writing more interesting and entertaining.  I do remember my Freshman year in college that my English teacher encouraged her class to write with originality.  There were 25 students in her class and only two of us passed.  I think that was when I first believed that I could express myself in writing.  As with so many things in life, I became complacent with my writing and fell short of insuring that it remained fresh and interesting.  Visitors to my website (www.tommyhale.net) continue to increase and are approaching 50,000 visitors in 18 months.  Perhaps, that contributed to my complacency? 

Alice James said, “All loss is gain.  Since I have become so near-sighted I see no dust or squalor and therefore conceive of myself as living in splendor.”  That certainly puts a positive spin on things!  

A close friend needed help with her new cellphone recently and asked me to show her how to use it.  In a few days she showed up at our home and I read the instructions and attempted to enlighten her in its usage.  That meeting did not go well , and she left frustrated and ready to dance the jig of disgust.  As an old hand at dealing with all things electronic, I know they come with built-in problems.  I have also learned that frustration will not resolve the conflict.  We had a second meeting a few days afterwards at her home.  In about an hour all her problems were resolved and I left feeling a small sense of triumph.  I know that helping others makes me feel better about myself and my place in my circle of friends.    

“Help others get ahead. You will always stand taller with someone else on your shoulders.” – Bob Moawad