Seahawks vs Broncos

Seahawks traded their QB Russell Wilson to the Broncos in the preseason. NFL capitalized on this by scheduling the first season game for the Hawks and the Broncos to be against each other at Seattle. The only NFL game this first Monday night 9/12. I do not know the size of the online viewership but I am positive the advertisers were over the moon.

This isn’t a post about the game. It’s about all the break up, the emotions that surfaced, what being a fan means. Let’s start with the last point.

Being called a “fair weather” fan is an insult, that one doesn’t stick with one’s sports team through thick or thin. The 12’s (i.e. Seahawks fans) are well known for generating a noise level in the stadium that reached 98 decibels! This disrupts the opposing team as evidenced by the number of false starts by the Broncos! Great work 12’s!

But is jeering and boo-ing Russ really desirable fan behavior to be emulated? Holding up signs that mock him? I wonder whether in doing such, we un-chain that beast within that seeks to ‘slap’ others. More charitably, perhaps it’s a cathartic release of jilted loyalties. However, such loyalties may be fragile if they are based on the player winning (i.e. “performing”) for them. In other words, the relationship is based on what the player does, not who the player is.

Post hand comments by ex-team mates do reveal the reality of friendship or not, that existed. Some snide comments reveal the envy that was so carefully hidden when they were playing together. The real friends, the loyal friends, who battled him on the field last night had kinder words, perhaps by saying nothing. Football is a business, and sometimes friends have to compete against each other in this business.

What relevant insights are there for Life?

(1) Some who play on your side will only be too willing to turn on you when you part ways.

(2) Some “feel good” actions can burnish the “badness of being.” This is a slippery slope.

(3) It’s tempting to exchange blow for blow, and thus, quickly sink to the other’s level. Do I really want that?

(4) Are any of my current relationships based more on what the other does?

As with anything in Life, it all flows from one to another. Any partition we attempt to put up never fully contains our actions, our emotions, our various personas.

Penny wise, pound foolish

A popular idiom that I learned during childhood. I Googled the origins of this idiom and found out that it was coined almost 500 years ago, in England and first recorded in Francis Meres’ Luis de Granada’s Sinners Guyde, translated in 1598:

Least he (as it is wont to be sayd) be penny wise and pound foolish, least he I say, gather ashes, and cast away flower.

Isn’t that imagery very striking, to gather ashes while casting away the flour (wasn’t flour spelled flower in the olden days)? How apt.

I am sure we all have battle scars from our forays into the consumerism world, buying the lower cost product and then realizing later, that the quality was commensurate with the price paid. It may have been better to buy the higher priced product and had greater durability and other qualitative benefits. Clearly, this doesn’t apply to ‘branded’ products, where a significant percentage of the pricing is for the image/status of being a ‘prideful’ owner of said branded item.

But money is not the only exchange medium that is called to mind with this idiom. How about TIME?

Clearly, when we are considering life investments, be it a home or our retirement options, we would and should be spending lots of time given the years of living in said home, or relying on said investment income for retirement. What happens if it’s one of those items on Amazon? Or a hotel night in town X? A defined budget may dictate getting products or services that fit within said budget. But ultimately, the trade off is whether to purse the best value price offering by spending too much time, or securing a good enough value price offering with the right enough amount of time. Would budgeting both money and time, when researching/evaluating future products and services be a more optimal use of our scarce resources, of which time is the most uncertain? Are there other areas of my life where I treat ‘Time’ as pennies, thinking that I had an unlimited bag of it (ala those addictive seasons on NFLX and the like)?

Is RELATIONSHIP another possible exchange medium? How can I be penny wise, pounds foolish in relationships? Perhaps if we consider how we relate with children in an environment of conflicting time demands/priorities, the insight might be revealed. Missing a child’s play for the sake of overtime work (so that we can get a better bonus, or score the ‘deal’) seems the right thing to do, since we rationalize that we can always catch the next year’s play. And sometimes that does work out. But other times, this rationalization becomes ingrained, and the rare mis-attendance turns into a common routine where the other partner picks up the slack.

What about adult relationships? What constitutes pennies vs pounds? Perhaps we count the pennies of mis-perceived ‘slights’ and forget the pounds of ‘care’ and ‘concern’ that friends showed during the relationship.

Additionally, social media have allowed us to be kept informed of many more friends’ activities than pre-social media. But if depth of relationship is the pounds part of this relationship equation, why then do we spend more time on social media than on face to face interactions? Clearly none of us want many superficial relationships over a handful of deep relationships, right?

A final example – is HEALTH another possible exchange medium? A pennies approach to health might be subscribing to the view that there’s a pill for any and every health deficiency. That medical care and pharmaceutical offerings have advanced to the level that one only need minimal attention to the rigors of a regular exercise regimen, good nutrition and good rest/sleep. Who has the time and energy for a pounds approach to health?

You may come up with other exchange media. It might make for an interesting reflection of how culture and social norms have re-calibrated our inner compasses of young.

Pennies wise, pounds foolish. Short term vs long term. Immediate gratification vs future sustainability. Tangibles vs intangibles. Surface vs Within. Image vs Character. Pain-avoidance vs Soul-building.

Learning from frogs in a pot of water that goes from lukewarm to boiling

We all know about the frog that is comfortable when placed in a pot of lukewarm water. And when the fire on the pot is slowly adjusted higher, the frog stays in the pot. Until it’s too late.

There’s a biological reason for this. The frog is a cold blooded creature. Thus, its body can regulate its internal temperature to the surroundings. Thus, as the water in the pot gets hotter, the frog is able to tolerate this. Again, until it’s too late.

Shouldn’t we regard this positively, as a sign of adaptability and resiliency? After all, if the water did not reach a boiling temperate that endangers life, the frog could be taken out of the pot, and it will go on living.

What’s that line between adaptability/resiliency and life threatening for the frog?

Aren’t we humans also susceptible to adapting ‘too much’ to an environment (culture, ideology, etc.), believing that we have the resiliency to bounce back to life if there’s a clear and present danger? But aren’t the dangers that are most pernicious and difficult to escape, those that have long fuses?

So, what’s that line that will help us humans assess if said environment is a question of adaptability/resilience or [ultimately] life threatening?

Here’s a possible answer. It’s our unique ability to project and anticipate. Humans are good at brainstorming various possible outcomes, and through human experience, weigh the probable outcomes. If we fail to exercise this intelligence, then, we probably become part of the Darwinian outcome.

By the way, isn’t it interesting that the history of past empires (and societies) tell us that it’s difficult to detect this slow boil is because we are benefiting from said environment! The sharpness of our intelligence (morality, spirituality, etc.) gets dulled by the pleasures and benefits of that long fuse.

Romeo & Juliet redux

Most would immediately consider the story of Romeo & Juliet as depicting a love that is so deep, that the lovers (un-wittingly) die for each other. It’s also a tragedy as Romeo was not aware that Juliet had faked her death, and he then committed suicide by drinking poison at her tomb. She wakes up, discovers Romeo dead at her side, and in turn, commits suicide with his dagger. This Shakespearean story has a happy ending as the two feuding families reconcile through these deaths.

We are witnessing a modern tragedy involving love. 19 elementary school, 4th grade children and two adult teachers were killed yesterday (May 24, 2022) in Uvalde, Texas by a 18 year old armed with an AR-15. 19 innocent lives that had more years of living. 2 dedicated teachers. No society can afford to experience such periodic losses without losing its own innocence. It’s foolish to brush this aside as though it’s an inevitable part of our nation’s story, to let a minority have its way.

What is the “love” that’s tied to this tragedy? It’s the love of an unfettered 2nd Amendment Rights that currently allows a 18 year old to buy a military style assault rifle.

History books tell of ancient (uncivilized) societies and tribes who offer children, virgins, etc. at their altars to appease their gods, to secure blessings for their tribe.

Can Americans recognize by allowing such mass killings to persist without doing anything, we in effect, are allowing the High Priests of the 2nd Amendment Right to continue such sacrifices in this modern day and age?

Consider the plight of parents now and tomorrow, as they send their school children off to school. How can normalcy be wondering if they will come back safely at the end of the school day?

As we look into the mirror, who will we see? Someone who has become inured into helplessness and hopelessness, or someone who will no longer allow a minority to out-shout and over-rule a majority.

How will we work towards our own happy ending from this tragedy? A journey starts with a single step.