1956

More specifically, Saturday, May 12, at approximately 2:00pm. It was probably a normal day for most Americans, except for one young lady and me. Of course, I had no clue what was going on, I can’t speak for my mother either, but I think she might’ve been a little excited. But by the time I came along she had already birthed three kids, perhaps she knew what to expect.

What was happening around the country the year I showed up?

The average cost of a house was $12,000. Monthly rent averaged around $90.Yearly wages averaged $4,450. A new car would set you back a whopping $2,000! And with the cost of gas averaging around 22 cents a gallon you could probably drive coast to coast on a couple tanks of gas while listening to Elvis Presley’s Heartbreak Hotel on the radio.

I think it’s very interesting that at the same time I came along IBM introduces the first hard drive computer – the IBM 305 RAMAC. Maybe that’s why I’ve always loved technology. Weighing in at around one ton and measuring 16 square feet it was a behemoth of a machine! Today’s smartphones have a thousand times more computing power! As Spock would say: “Fascinating.”

Fast forward 17 years to 1973, I’m in boot camp in Great Lakes, Illinois, preparing for a 6-year stint in the United States Navy. I’m still a kid and don’t realize or care what course I’ve set for myself.

Another 17 years into the future and a 34-year old young man still doesn’t seem to realize or care what course he’s on. And by the time he’s 51 he begins to understand that the map he’s been following has led him on a journey that has no specific destination.

12 years later and I feel like I’m still using the same map I had when I was 17. Following a course that crisscrosses here and there and doubles back to a new starting point that really isn’t all that new, just different.

Pick a year, any year, 1956 was mine. But I didn’t get to choose it, had I been able to would I have chosen 1856? 1756? 2056? Some folks believe we are all predestined to follow a specific path, I’m not too keen on that belief myself. Take a look at my roadmap thus far and you can understand why.

That’s fine

Is it really? I was having a discussion with my wife the other day and was trying to explain my confusion about the wedding guest list she had to prepare for my son’s upcoming wedding. I knew that she wasn’t very happy with my explanation when she replied with a “that’s fine.”

I took it as sarcasm. You can compare it to what’s often said down south when someone says “bless his/her heart” when the person it’s directed at has made an attempt at doing or saying something that doesn’t meet your standards. Or that you think is below your standards.

It’s a low-level insult, but an insult nonetheless. The one saying it might not realize he or she has uttered something offensive if he or she doesn’t pick up on certain signs from the other person. I’m not sure the signs I gave were the right ones.

The guest list my son wanted from her were the names of my wife’s close friends who were planning on attending, not the entire guest list of everyone. When my wife told me she had to get the guest list ready I thought she meant names of everyone, not just the names of her friends. When I tried explaining why I was confused she said: “that’s fine.” I don’t think my explanation lived up to her standards, bless my heart.

I should learn how to have discussions without explaining myself.