Give Me all Your Marbles

Ages ago, somewhere in the mid 1990s, I was working for a concert venue in Rhode Island, and we had a comedian on the slate for the evening. I am ashamed to say that I cannot, for the life of me, remember his name, but I do remember one particular bit that he did….I think of it at least once a day. If anyone out there knows who this comedian is, please let me know, because I’d love to give him credit for continuing to make me laugh every day.

The premise of this bit was simple.

Everyone should start the day with ten marbles. If someone catches you doing or saying something stupid, you have to give them a marble. When you are out of marbles, YOU MUST GO HOME. That’s it for the day. You are done.

I fervently believe that this is a system that should be incorporated globally.

So, that person ahead of you in traffic who has had their directional on for 5 miles and is in the center lane of a three lane road? Personally, I believe that every time they pass a turning and do not take it, and still keep their directional on, they should lose a marble. That would get them off the road pretty quick.

People who not only approve but INSTALL billboards with horrific grammar and spelling mistakes. C’mon – the letters are BIGGER THAN YOU. That’s gotta be worth at least a few marbles right there, if not a week’s worth.

People who write tax codes, for any country. That’s a lot of marbles.

The guy who came to my front door yesterday saying he was not a salesman, but that he was looking for community interest in solar panels, which he sells…..yeah. At least one marble.

Me, when I pour the hot water in my coffee cup, rather than the coffee maker….yep, that’s a marble.

The guy who thought it was a great idea to put up a sign in downtown Boston during the middle of the Big Dig that said “If Rome had been built in a day we would have hired their contractors.” Funny the first time I was stuck in construction traffic staring at it….not the subsequent gazillion times….Marbles please.

If you say “do you see what I’m saying?”. Give me a marble. You are not a cartoon, so no, I cannot see what you are saying.

The great benefit to this philosophy, is this…when you start racking up the marble count as you go through your day, and assigning a marble value to the stupid things we all do. And yes, we all do stupid things. Well, it’s just that much more difficult to get angry about it. For me, it makes me crack a grin, adjust my marble tally, and move on. It becomes a story, rather than a moment in my life when I might have been inspired to do violence.

The list of marble offenses is long, I’ve barely scratched the surface here….but it gets the juices flowing, doesn’t it?

So far, I’ve started off well by making my coffee correctly the first time around. I still have all my marbles for the day, but I haven’t left the house yet.

Just One of Those Days….

Sundays are my Fridays.  For me it’s the end of my work week and the last few shows before a day where I can do whatever I want, even if whatever I want includes NOT setting an alarm and making all day friends with my pajamas. 

Truth be told, it’s been raining almost non stop for the last few weeks so when I get to my day off, my pajamas and I generally continue our all day friendship, and I’m ok with that.

But this isn’t about tomorrow and the everything or nothing that might be in my future, it’s about today.  And today is definitely just one of Those Days. 

Those Days tend to involve a large feeling of powerlessness and a slight increase in paranoia where everything just needs to be more difficult.  It should be noted that I have observed a very clear pattern between Those Days occurring just before a day off.  Just before my weekend…and Those Days tend to drag out interminably.

So I’m curious if other people have these regular Those Days or if it’s just me.  Today’s version of Those Days is sponsored by my computer, my internet connection, the rain and financial spreadsheets.

It’s the kind of day where you try so hard to avoid that really big puddle that you ignore the fact that you’re actually walking straight towards another puddle and end up stepping in it and NOT avoiding what you were trying to avoid to begin with.

It’s the kind of day where you find yourself pulling your hair out because you cannot gain access to a research site that it seems ABSOLUTELY IMPERATIVE that you access RIGHT HERE RIGHT NOW, only to discover that it made you take a break you needed to take to see the problem more clearly on your own and find your own solution.

It is a day of seemingly endless, highly exasperating face-palm moments.

It is a day where I seem to make sport of calling myself all sorts of names and try to laugh at myself.

Those Days are the days where I have a choice – I can either feel helplessly buffetted along by a strange wind, or look for the silver lining and see what I might gain.  Those Days typically start out with me having the overwhelming feeling that it might have gone better if I”d just stayed in bed and usually end up with some humbling epiphany.  Typically I start out frustrated when I realize I am having one of Those Days but sometimes, I’f I’m really clever and aware, I can turn it around and just grin at it and try to be willing to learn something.

So, yeah, I’m having Just One of Those Days, but I’m trying to be optimistic, and I’m keeping my eyes open for whatever I’m really supposed to be paying attention to (rather than what I THINK I’m supposed to be paying attention to, which is usually pretty far off the road I should be travelling.)

Cheers to you if you’re having Just One of Those Days too.