A few sayings to help us through the day

Here a few sayings that I have picked up along the way. Please feel free to offer some of yours that who add some relish to this grouping.

Have you ever felt like the whole world is a tuxedo and you’re just a pair of old brown shoes? (George Goebbels)

I have noticed the more I practice, the luckier I get. (Gary Player)

Opportunity is often missed as it is dressed up as hard work. (Malcolm Gladwell)

I have noticed common sense is not all that common. (Mark Twain)

A man will never be shot while doing the dishes. (Unknown)

More shots are missed because they are never taken. (Unknown)

If you always tell the truth, you don’t have to remember as much. (Unknown)

We tend to spend more practice on what we do well and less on what we don’t. It should be the other way around. (Harvey Penick)

No is just an answer. Don’t be afraid of hearing it. (Unknown)

I took the last shot because I knew I could handle missing it. (Jim Furyk)

You cannot have too many cups of coffee with people. It is my fault should not be a frightening thing to say. (a friend and colleague)

Don’t ever be surprised when an ego-centric person turns on you. It will happen. (Unknown)

People should get more credit for doing the right thing than going along with the crowd. (Unknown)

Paying it forward may be the most selfless of gifts. The gift of your time is the best thing you can do for your kids. (Unknown)

The greatest lights in our community or family are the people who always visit or help when it is needed. (Unknown)

Helping people climb a ladder out of the hole they dug is better than just pulling them up. If they climb it, they may avoid digging a new one. (a friend and social worker)

You have two ears and one mouth, use them in that proportion. (an old boss)

Work place humor can be found in surprising places

Sometimes workplace humor offers the funniest lines, as they are unexpected. Even in working for a large, staid bank for about four years, I came across some funny things. Some of these I have used before, but have placed them all together for your reading (hopefully) pleasure.

A new state banking president had just moved into their headquarters and was outside smoking a cigarette due to a ban on indoor smoking. To be frank, the president was probably not the one you would pick out of a line-up as the president, so a woman smoking outside asked “I have not seen you before, what department do you work in?” When he responded sheepishly, “I am the new president of the bank,” she responded quickly with “And, I am the Queen of Effing England!”

Following his non-presidential looks to a branch he was touring, the new president was told he resembled their regional manager, a man I will call Bubba Johnson, to preserve his identity. The president spoke to the employees and said “People say I resemble Bubba Johnson, but that cannot be, as Bubba is uglier than a pair of old bowling shoes.”

A young communication analyst was giving guests a tour of the floor her department was on which also was on the same floor where all the Board meetings occurred. On the walls, were pictures of all the bank CEOs and chairmen, gender identity intended. When she got to the hallway, she said to her guests, “And, here is wall with pictures of a bunch of dead white guys.” Observation duly noted.

If you ever worked for a bank or had a relative who did, titles are handed out like candy. I think they are used in part so as to give a lesser raise. So, there are several thousands of assistant vice-presidents and several hundreds of vice-presidents. One of the dilemmas of this construct was uttered by a long-time bank employee who said, “As soon as you give someone a title, they start acting presidential.”

My boss’ boss was someone who tended to invade people’s personal space getting inches from yours when he talked to you. The gender of the other person did not matter, as he was an equal opportunity space invader, pun intended. My boss, though, had a unique way to stave off said invasions. When asked how, he said “Whenever I meet with him, I always make sure there is a piece of furniture between us, a chair, a table, a desk.”

My boss had some of the funniest stories about his time working for a bank, our bank had acquired. The CEO of that bank was the most imperial of presidents I have ever witnessed. There seemingly was no perquisite he did not have. One story is he invited key bank customers to his daughter’s wedding to get the bank to pay for it. Why spend my money he thought?

He also had a chauffeured limousine for protection, which the driver/ bodyguard would circle back and drive his wife around when he was at work. It would do the same for the COO’s wife. Since they argued over the limo, the bank solved the problem by getting a second one. My boss was talking with driver about the error of his process to keep the CEO safe. He said, “You drop him at the door once you get here, but fail to understand that everyone inside wants to kill him.”

One of those perquisites was a lengthy change of control agreement. To get the money, the retired CEO would have to do various things, one of which was to file monthly reports of his activities. When he was about seven months in arrears, the actual CEO was made aware of it. His solution was simple and very effective. “Stop paying him.” Within a few weeks, the retired CEO completed the reports.

Finally, the head of security for the bank had some very funny stories that he could only share in general. A couple of takeaways from his stories are (1) avoid places that have cameras when you are having a sexual encounter with a colleague, which includes stairwells, (2) an irate spouse who confronts her philandering husband at work has a better aim with a hurled coffee cup than you might think, and (3) avoid having an affair with a person whose spouse also works for the bank. Of course, all three could be solved by avoiding the affairs altogether.

I am certain you each have some workplace humor. Please feel free to share your stories.

Is it Agnes or Maggies? – a reprise

Given time constraints, the following is a repeat of an earlier post.

My wife says “Goodness gracious Maggies!” I was brought up hearing “Goodness gracious Agnes!” She was raised in South Carolina while I grew up in Florida. We don’t know where Agnes and Maggie were raised.

Geography seems to play a role in variations in similar sayings. In the South, I often heard “Bless his (or her) heart” to reference someone prone to inanity. Our friends from Pennsylvania say “God love him (or her)” meaning the same thing. A minister once said, if you add “Bless his heart,” one can say some less than flattering things before that point.

The more religiously influenced have a variety of sayings. I think the Catholic influence might lead a surprised person to say “Holy Mary mother of God!” which is quite the mouhful. Often, it is shortened to “Holy Mary!” leaving the longer version for more awe-inspiring events.

“Jesus Christ! or the shortened “Jesus!” is uttered when a religious mother is out of earshot. Otherwise, the child might get a look or rebuke. Often, it is shortened to “Jeez,” “Jeepers,” or “Gee whiz,” depending on the generation or religious zeal of the mother. Of course, the more formal rendering is “Jesus H. Christ,” but I have no idea where the “H” comes from.

We can thank Walt Disney for popularizing another replacement with his character “Jiminy Cricket.” Making his name plural makes another saying of surprise. A variation is “Jiminy Christmas” for more exasperating events.

“Dammit,” has long been a shortened version of GD which would have gotten a strong rebuke in my house. The rebuke for Dammit would be less severe. Either phrase reveals disappointment in some failure. I am reminded of Strother Martin’s character in “Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid.” The tobacco chewing character would say “Dammit” when his tobacco spittle got on his chin, yelling “bingo” when it did not.

It saddens me to think of the humor of Bill Cosby given his off-stage criminal acts of sexual assault. But, one of his funnier routines was of his father trying to edit his language around his kids. When mad, Cosby said his father could not complete a sentence due to self-censure. He also had routine where his father referred to Cosby as “Dammit” and his brother as “Jesus Christ” when mad. “Dammit” get in here. “Jesus Christ” why did you do that? When he mixed up the two, his brother would say “But Dad, I’m Jesus Christ.”

I have shared before the saying of my wonderful colleague whose father was a minister. When very frustrated, she would say, “Bad word, bad word!” Her saying would lighten the moment if others heard her saying it given her temperament.

What are some of your family, friends and region’s sayings? Are they unique to your area or more widespread?

Southern sandwiches

If South Carolina were a sandwich it would be a tomato sandwich with plenty of mayo on white bread.

If Georgia were a sandwich if would be a pimento cheese sandwich.

If North Carolina were a sandwich it would be pulled pork on a bun with a touch of sauce.

If Florida were a sandwich it wound be a Cuban on that long bread.

If Kentucky were a sandwich it would be a Hot Brown.

If Tennessee were a sandwich it would honor Elvis with a peanut butter and banana sandwich.

If Virginia were a sandwich it would be a country ham biscuit.

If Maryland were a sandwich it would be a soft shell crab sandwich.

If Louisiana were a sandwich it would be a shrimp po’ boy.

If Alabama were a sandwich it would be ribs with white bread, not a sandwich per se, but the folks in Tuscaloosa will know what this means.

If Mississippi were a sandwich it would be a standard peanut butter and jelly sandwich using your favorite jelly.

Note, there are no right answers to the above, only my and other opinions. Where have I strayed? What are your thoughts? I limited this to the south, but let me know of other states.

A documentary on George Carlin reveals much

“I am optimistic, but I would not take any comfort from that.” George Carlin

The above is one of the many quotes from the talented and funny satirical comedian, George Carlin which is highlighted in a HBO two-part documentary. On top of learning about Carlin’s rise to fame, as well as his fall and rise again, we see a glimpse of American culture from the 1960’s forward.

Like most good documentaries, it presents the good, bad and the ugly side of fame and how it impacted both Carlin and his first wife, Brenda, whom he was married for 36 years. Brenda, was his biggest fan and supported and help manage his efforts to go out on his own on two separate occasions, first after having success with Jack Burns in a comedy duo and, second, when he took off the suit and started being who he really was on stage, the bearded, witty and satirical comedian we remember most.

Along the way, both had drinking and drug problems. Ironically, Brenda’s exposure came when he became successful and professional managers and PR people took on her role. Their daughter Kelly noted that this put her mother to the side and she had a lot of trouble with that. They both would recover and have a loving thirty-six year marriage before Brenda passed away. Carlin would later remarry and stay married for the rest of his life.

For those who don’t know Carlin, here is a brief summary from Hollywood Life:

George Carlin is one of the most beloved comedians of all time. After beginning his career in the 1960s, George rose to fame for his often controversial subject matter and use of explicit language, best exemplified in his routine “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television” in 1972. He continued being a popular performer, going through many distinct shifts in style throughout the 80s and 90s, releasing a number of standup specials. His final special It’s Bad For Ya was released months before his death at 71 in June 2008. Other than his standup, George dabbled in comedic acting, appearing in films such as Bill And Ted’s Excellent Adventure and playing Mr. Conductor on the children’s program Shining Time Station.”

Carlin loved to play with the words and their different meanings under different contexts. One of his more memorable and safer topics is the one on oxymorons. One I vividly recall is “jumbo shrimp.” After metering is voice and eyes as he recounted this, he would say “are they little jumbos, or huge shrimp?” Yet, his most famous diatribe is the one mentioned above called “The Seven Words You Can Never Say On Television.”

Comedians like Stephen Colbert, Patton Oswalt, Jon Stewart, Steven Wright, et al could easily recite the seven words in order from this routine. They also discussed how provocative Carlin was in his heyday and became again later in his career. There was a time where he got pushed aside and was actually mocked by some newer comedians for his less evocative wordplay. Yet, he would only come back strong being the irreverent Carlin we knew and laughed with.

This special is worth the watch. I actually watched them out of order, but that is more than OK. It was actually fun to see him get started after seeing the later stages of his career first. It is also telling to see the many comedians pay homage to him for influencing their careers.

You are no day at the beach either

One of the funniest “corrective” lines is in the title to this post. I cannot recall where I borrowed it from, but it is the kind of retort that will make folks laugh at themselves and not take things too seriously.

When someone is in the middle of a rant about the shortcomings of another person who is usually not present, efforts to give the non-present person the benefit of the doubt sometimes fail to dissuade the critic from his or her rant. At that point, you can walk away or use some means to change the subject. Humor works well in this situation. Using the person’s first name, you could say with a smile “you are no day at the beach either.” It tells the ranter that he or she is not perfect, so the ranter may want to let up on the criticism.

I often think of this retort when I read or listen to the rants of imperfect people (which we all are) that are hypercritical of someone who used the wrong words or did something we do not like. None of us are perfect, me very much included. Full stop. Even Mother Teresa shared her doubts in her diary about not being pious or good enough. And, she was one of our finer residents on the planet.

We all mess up. We all have messed up. And, we all will mess up again. Hopefully, we learned something and will minimize those mess-ups, but we still have it in us to make mistakes. The question that needs the attention of others is this modus operandi or is it an exception. The doctor who does something right 19 times out of 20, should get a bigger break than the one who messes up more than half the time.

A final thought to ponder is the following. When someone rants about someone not present, the only window is that of the ranter. The ranting will tend to make those present feel more sorry for the person being criticized, even if they decide to join in because of the forceful personality of the ranter. I would also suggest those present do their best to not join in.

Not much of a poet, but I was encouraged

Our friend Cindy encouraged me to post these few words as a feeble attempt at poetry. She posted a picture of a young woman with her head laying on her lap top keyboard above a poem that included a reference to “undo.” Here is a paraphrase of what I typed as a comment with the context provided above the poem.

Cindy, pairing your poem with the first picture is marvelous. “Undo won’t do the trick.” That is a terrific line that would have been unheard of forty years ago. It is the most magical button or icon ever invented – undo. So, when it does not do the trick, we are screwed. I am sure many a bad marriage would love the “undo” button. Of course, this would be passed the annulment period, which is a nice invention in its own right.

So, with this in mind, here is my feeble attempt:

“I wish my love for you remained
Undo

I wish I had not left my old job
Undo

I wish I had not given the Nigerian prince money
Undo

I wish I had not clicked on that link
Undo

Oops, undo is not working.
OK, Alt+CTRL+Del.”

If you like the format, please offer some “undos” of your own.

Wednesday wanderings the second week of 2022

Good morning all and happy Hump Day. Let’s get out today and wander around some, weather permitting in your area. Even if it is snowing, dress warmly and listen to the crunch of the snow beneath your boots.

I have about finished cutting up a strategically located Wax Myrtle in our back yard that fell over due to all of the rain and wind about ten days ago. It provided such privacy from one backyard neighbor’s view. Now, we can see their house more clearly and vice-versa. Wax Myrtle’s smell nice, so as I took the smaller branches to the curb, I had an aromatic walk. I have cut up many a tree due to high winds from hurricane remnants or just windy storms as our backyard has a small forest which we left for privacy. But, I hate chain saws and love to exercise. So, it is a slower process that takes days.

Today, we will be shedding our house of the many versions of Christmas ornaments we have in the attic. I think we have enough ornaments for ten Christmas trees. We label them by year, but in essence we have the brown, copper and gold Christmas ornaments, we have the blue and silver ones with an artificial white tree when we put up two, we have several variations of red and green ornaments, and we have colored and white lights. Right now, we have pulled them out of the attic and have small paths to walk around upstairs. If I report a sore back tomorrow, you will know the reason why. It won’t be due to the tree cutting, it will be due to ornaments removal. My guess is other folks have this problem.

I have noticed the marketers are mailing less now that Christmas is over. I am sure they will pick up the pace, but the respite is much appreciated. I have shared this before, but my sister gets marketing mail for my mother who passed away several years ago. And, my mother never lived in the house where my sister lives now. This is the definition of eternal life – you remain on marketing lists forever. When my sister tries to remove my mother’s name, they just change it to my sister’s. I wonder how many trees are killed sending mail to dead people?

Speaking of marketing, I saw where Congress is going to address the number of calls, as they did before. Talk about a waste of time. Counting the fingers on 435 members, they do not have enough digits to plug the holes in the marketing dam. Now, many of the calls are recorded voices trolling the listener. You can tell by the delay, then spiel. Yesterday, Samantha called me, but she was not really there. We usually don’t answer, but if it is real person, I want to tell them to please take me off their list. I think I am up to 768 “final” calls to extend a car warranty, get a better interest rate, etc. “Final” must mean “eternal” as in the previous paragraph on mailers.

Those are few wandering thoughts for the day. Best wishes on all your errands and chores. May the force be with you.

They’re all my chairs, but you can sit in that one (a reprise)

I wrote this post in tribute to my grandmother on her birthday seven years ago. She was Thanksgiving to me.

My grandmother, who we called Big Mama, lived life large. She was quite the character and was unlike the acquiescent namesake in “Cat on a Hot Tin Roof.” She would tell you what she thought and was usually pretty funny in so doing. The title of this post is one of her familiar sayings. When she would get up from her chair to go in the nearby kitchen to begin cooking, we would ask if we could sit in her chair. To which she would respond, “They’re all my chairs, but you can sit in that one.”

Big Mama would have been 103 on her birthday next week, so she is in my thoughts. Although, she died fifteen years ago, her memories and funny stories echo and certain events will bring them to the forefront of my mind. In addition to being a character, she was a person of character. My grandmother had a tough time the last ten years of her life, as she worked on her feet most of her life as a clothing sales person. With osteoporosis, her body would begin falling apart and she would often fall breaking things. In fact, one doctor said he believed her hip just broke, then she fell.

She ran the Boys and Men’s Clothing sections of the stores where she worked in a large, small town. Her clients were lifelong, as men would get out of college and go see her to be fitted with a business wardrobe. My favorite story about Big Mama was when she teased her cheap boss in front of the President of the company who had come to visit. After lending the President her pen to write something down, he put it in his pocket. She said, “Sir, that is my penMy boss is too cheap to buy us pens, so I brought that one from home.”  That got a chuckle, albeit a nervous one from her boss. She made the company so much money, she would not get chastised for telling the painful truth.

Yet, when I think about Big Mama, I think of Thanksgiving. Our ritual was to pack up our family and go to her house for the holiday. The family of one of my mother’s sisters would attend as would several of Big Mama’s close by siblings and their spouses, whose kids lived far away. Even after she could not walk much, my wife and I would go and she would direct us on how to make the various dishes. With her fingers ravaged by arthritis, I would tell her as she would micromanage too much, “Big Mama, don’t point that crooked finger at me,” to which she would laugh. To do this day, I make Big Mama’s cornbread dressing, which is the name it is given. To me, it is my way of paying it forward, as our house has become the go-to house for Thanksgiving.

Big Mama was the next youngest of a family of twelve. The rhythm method was not very effective as a birth control means. She got her large personality from her mother, whom everyone in the community called Mama, even my mother and her sisters. Mama was also the local medicine woman, as the hospital was so far away. Big Mama told us the story of her younger brother who knocked his front teeth out as he attempted being a gymnast unsuccessfully. Mama sat him down and boiled some water, while she rinsed his teeth off. She placed a towel in the hot water and gave it a quick rinse and told her youngest son to shove the towel into his gums. The gums swelled up and she jammed his teeth back in and they held. Big Mama learned from the best.

I have written before about my quiet grandfather. He and Big Mama were a perfect match, a yin and yang. My grandfather that I knew was my step grandfather, as Big Mama’s first husband did not stay home very much. She divorced him at a time when few people did, so it shows that she was not going to live with her mistake any longer. Being a small community, everyone understood. But, her greatest heartbreak was when she had to bury her youngest child, my favorite aunt. No mother or father should have to bury a child. I cannot imagine a greater heartbreak. While hard, we are heartbroken, but less surprised when we have to bury a spouse as we know that is part of the pact. Yet, a child should outlive his or her parents. Even when the child is in her fifties, it is still hard, especially after the child had health issues all her life.

She mourned my aunt’s passing until she died. Like any mother and daughter, they butted heads, but loved each other greatly. We all did. Big Mama, you are the best. You are one of the biggest characters I have known. You also were a person of character. We are better for having known you and you are still missed. Happy Birthday.

The Yogi of malapropisms (or Yogi-isms)

A malaprop is defined as “the mistaken use of a word in place of a similar-sounding one, often with unintentionally amusing effect, as in, for example, ‘dance a flamingo’ (instead of flamenco).” A malaprop or malapropism is the closest word(s) to describe what a rather famous baseball player would articulate to reporters on a recurring basis. The player had the iconic name of Yogi Berra.

Yogi was actually a very good and well-liked ballplayer on a very good team, the New York Yankees. As the Yankees were in the World Series with regularity, reporters had a lot of access to Yogi and what would become known as “Yogi-isms.” The funny thing about Yogi-isms is while they may sound unusual, they actually had a basis of simple truth holding them up. In other words, when you studied what he was trying to say, it actually made sense.

Here are a few Yogisms

It gets dark early out there – Yogi started as a catcher, but as he aged, he was moved to left field because he was such a good hitter and needed to be in the line-up. Late in the afternoon, the sun would cause shadows in the outfield which made it hard to see the baseball coming your way.

The future ain’t what it used to be -This may be my favorite Yogi-ism. In essence, things are happening so fast in the world, predictions of the future need updating. This is even more true today with technology advances.


It ain’t over ’til its over – This may be truest of all Yogi-isms as he has witnessed many a come from behind victory as a winner and loser. The game is not over until it is over. There is always a chance to win or lose, so finish the game.


When you come to a fork in the road, take it – This one needs to be read with a smile. You think you know what he means, but it is funny to play it against Robert Frost’s road not taken. Which way should you go? In Yogi’s mind, make a change. Or, is he saying stay the course? Or, maybe he is just saying don’t stand still, make a choice.

You can observe a lot by watching – this is one of the obvious truths. Shut up and watch what is happening. I have often felt reporters just loved to hear Yogi talk, so they would make big deals out of anything he said. Since we still have too many folks that are not present in the moment, this Yogi-ism is good advice. Pay attention, you might learn something.


Baseball is 90% mental; the over half is physical – this is one of his more famous lines. Math must have not been his strong suit. Or, more than likely, he forgot the first percentage when he closed out his point. Any endeavor has a mental aspect to it, even one where there is a ball, bat and glove involved.

Yogi-isms are priceless. They are funny, yet profound on occasion as the examples above portray. When I said he was well-liked, that is not an overstatement. He was charming and self-effacinig. He did not look like a star player, like his teammate Mickey Mantle, but he was a very good one. Kids, especially, just flocked to Yogi.

Please let me know your reactions and any other favorites.