After the Fact: Life is like a box of chocolates


At some time, I’m sure I’ve mentioned my friend Yvonne who informed our small group of “girls” that she was going to have a “parfait floor” laid in her new house. Yvonne was a sweet girl whose pretentions outnumbered her brain cells, but far be it from any of us to tell her she’d skipped a wicket. 

From the lowliest to the most high, we’re all as likely to misstep in our walk along life’s highway. Even Orion, the big dog in our house, knows the secret to staying on the path, thus assuring people that he’s somewhat brilliant. Chris says it’s because he Knows What He Knows. It may not fill volumes, but it’s indelible.

The newly-minted congresswoman from New York, Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez, set the benchmark for opening one’s mouth without knowing what is going to come out. She doesn’t know anyone who attends the electoral college, but she’s sure it has a nice campus, she says. One or two slips will guarantee rapt attention from the media, and I’ve heard at least a dozen that she’s made in just the few weeks since she was elected. I don’t think she knows a whole lot more than Orion, but he knows what he doesn’t know which is a giant step ahead.

Or, how about “It’s really scary or it’s easy to generate fear around an idea or around an –ism when you don’t provide any substance to it.” Hang in there for the next two years of haphazardly crafted comments from Alexandria.

If one of his children did or said something particularly stupid, my dad would say we didn’t “have the brains God gave an earthworm.” But there is something to be said for knowing your audience, and giving so little credit to the worm may incite an argument with oligochaeteologists (know what you don’t know and look it up on Google). Some things just don’t come out as you’d intended to say them.

My son calls from Massachusetts every Sunday morning. Most of the conversation centers around my granddaughter with smatterings of what the family is doing and a lot of roof talk. He’s a supervisor for a major roofing company in that part of the state, but seems to think he’s personally responsible for every nail that goes out on a job and how it is hammered in and where. The things that frustrate him with any of the aforementioned categories are always summed up with the statement, “It is what it is.”  Indeed. I would expect that to be true. 

Have you noticed that people, ourselves included, seem to attach to a phrase that suits any occasion? Of all her speeches to any august group, Hillary Clinton will long be remembered for the utterance made after the raid at the embassy in Benghazi, “What difference, at this point, does it make?”

Second to “One small step for man, one giant step for mankind,” Neil Armstrong has gone on into history books for another saying (that may not, in fact, be true) that tickles the funny bone if you know the whole story, “Good luck, Mr. Gorsky.” 

Remember, “Stupid is as stupid does” from Forrest Gump? Or the conversation between Forrest and his sergeant, “Have you found Jesus yet, Gump? “I didn’t know I was supposed to be looking for him, sir.”

And to leave you this week, “I’ve been noticing gravity since I was very young.”  Cameron Diaz. Keep your feet down and your head up and know that you only know what you know.

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