Posts Tagged ‘philosophy’

Old Friend and ESPN Visit UH on Same Weekend

November 19, 2011

Old friend Dr. Don Matlosz (L) of Fresno State visiting with me Friday, Nov. 18th, at the same time the ESPN College Game Day crew is setting up their weekend show at UH in the background behind us.

Yesterday for me was one of those golden days we get to enjoy in life every now and then, All I had to do was drive out to UH for a long lunch with my best friend from my doctoral studies days at UT, Dr. Don Matlosz of Fresno State. Don “happened” to be in town for an important university business conference on the Friday preceding the big UH-SMU football game at Robertson Stadium today.

Matlosz and I share a common academic background. We were both undergrad psychology majors from UH before pursuing our masters degree work elsewhere. We both ended up doing our doctoral work through the UT School of Public Health in Houston. Don is staying over for the SMU game. I can only hope that he ditches the UT cap prior to game time. We had not seen each other in about 22 years so we had a lot of catching up to do at lunch in the on-campus Hilton Hotel.

Don Matlosz is an amazing guy. He played a little baseball at UH as an undergrad left-handed pitcher, eventually losing his spot on the roster to a young fellow named Bill Worrell, the now veteran broadcaster of Rockets basketball fame. At nearly 70, Matlosz still swims four miles a day every morning. He had just completed his aquatic commitment prior to our lunch – and then he only ordered a chicken salad and water for his middle of the day repast. ¬†– I didn’t do too bad, I got by with the chicken salad croissant and a bowl of fruit, plus iced tea.

At lunch, and in the one hour campus walk we took afterwards, we talked at leisure of many things, of “fool’s gold and sealing wax,’ and “of cabbages and kings,” as the old lyrical description goes. It was amazing at how many life businesses we had each settled internally in very similar ways:

Hitting tiny rocks with a broomstick in the backyard can make you a better hitter when you get older. – Don’t expect a woman’s love to help you feel whole about yourself. Learn to feel whole about yourself on your own first and you will then likely find a woman you are capable of loving in good faith as a whole person and not see her erroneously as your “fix.”. – The saddest casualty of the Penn State sexual abuse scandal is that it most likely will further discourage many healthy people from serving as role models to kids in various kid social programs out of fear that their motivations for helping may be misunderstood. The kids lose again, as indeed, we all seem to be losing out on the availability of ¬†really good people for service in public office. All we seem to be getting these days are an inordinate number of selfishly driven, not-always-too-bright opportunists who want to be president for all the worst reasons. – The older we get, the more we only want to spend our time or hang out with people who genuinely love what they do. People who do what they do simply to make money, or because they want to impress others, tend to bore folks to bejabberment. – Baseball is still the toughest game in the world to play well. – The DH sucks, but most fans have grown up with it and don’t know any better. – It’s great fun being a Cougar this weekend. Case Keenum plays QB like the second coming of Joe Montana. – As older guys, we have to keep the old body moving, or else, it stops moving at all. Same is true for the mind and brain. Use them or lose them. – Celebrate each day that you wake up on the top side of the grass too. Never take the clock for granted. – Live each day as fully as possible in the here and now. We cannot capture what is yet to be with our promises. We cannot regain what might have been with our regrets. Whatever it is you need to do, do it now. There is no other time for it.

Life is good.

Instructions for Life

October 24, 2010

Our Off-The-Rx-List Rule: "Play out your life on a field of green as much as possible."

Instructions for Life

The first forty-three of these little wisdom-loaded advisories are taken directly from a work called “Life’s Little Instruction Book”, by Jackson Brown and H. Jackson Brown, Jr.

  1. Give people more than they expect and do it cheerfully.
  2. Memorize your favorite poem.
  3. Don’t believe all you hear, spend all you have, or sleep all you want.
  4. When you say, I love you, mean it.
  5. When you say, I’m sorry, look the person in the eye.
  6. Be engaged for at least six months before you get married.
  7. Believe in love at first sight.
  8. Never laugh at anyone’s dreams.
  9. Love deeply and passionately. You might get hurt but it’s the only way to live completely.
  10. In disagreements, fight fairly. No name calling.
  11. Don’t judge people by their relatives.
  12. Talk slow but think quick.
  13. When someone asks you a question you don’t want to answer, smile and ask, Why do you want to know?
  14. Remember that great love and great acheivements involve great risk.
  15. Call your family.
  16. Say, Bless you, when someone sneezes.
  17. When you lose, don’t lose the lesson.
  18. Remember the three R’s: Respect for self, Respect for others, Responsibility for all your actions.
  19. Don’t let a little dispute injure a great friendship.
  20. When you realize you’ve made a mistake, take immediate steps to correct it.
  21. Smile when picking up the phone. The caller will hear it in your voice.
  22. Marry a man/woman you love to talk to. As you get older, his/her conversational skills will be as important as any other.
  23. Spend some time alone.
  24. Open your arms to change, but don’t let go of your values.
  25. Remember that silence is sometimes the best answer.
  26. Read more books and watch less TV.
  27. Live a good, honorable life. Then when you get older and think back, you’ll get to enjoy it a second time.
  28. A loving atmosphere in your home is important. Do all you can to creat a tranquil harmonious home.
  29. In disagreements with loved ones, deal with the current situation. Don’t bring up the past.
  30. Read between the lines.
  31. Share your knowledge. It’s a way to acheive immortality.
  32. Be gentle with the earth.
  33. Never interrupt when you’re being flattered.
  34. Mind your own business.
  35. Don’t trust a lover who doesn’t close their eyes when you kiss them.
  36. Once a year, go someplace you’ve never been before.
  37. If you make a lot of money, put it to use while you are living. That is wealth’s greatest satisfaction.
  38. Remember that not getting what you want is sometimes a stroke of luck.
  39. Learn the rules, then break some.
  40. Remember that the best relationship is one where your love for each other is greater than your need for each other.
  41. Judge your success by what you had to give up in order to get it.
  42. Remember that your character is your destiny.
  43. Approach love and cooking with reckless abandon.

44. Remember these particular words of the great psychologist of the human soul and spirit C.G. Jung in all you do: “Where love reigns, there is no will to power, and where the will to power is paramount, love is lacking. The one is but the shadow of the other.”

Have a great Sunday, everybody!

More Sandlot Summer Memories

August 16, 2010

Sooner or later, my mind always returns to the sandlot in Pecan Park, the one we called Eagle Field, the one that is today celebrated at the East End Houston corner where Japonica and Myrtle streets “Y” together as “Japonica Park.”. The site was dedicated as a small city park in 1942, even though it only takes up the space that developers could have used to squeeze in four to six more little box houses like the ones we all lived in. They just didn’t, thank God, they just didn’t.

Joy in the moment never got any better than it once did in that time and space around the year 1950. I was 12 years old and playing at the apex of my sandlot glory that summer, as were several of my Pecan Park Eagle buddies. We simply had no way of knowing, as kids in a relatively trouble-free world, that this moment, for many of us, was as good as it would ever get for the every summer day availability of joy.

Hit and run. Catch and throw. Laugh and shout. Sweat and slide. Bare feet and callouses. Tee shirts and no shirts. Cornflower blue skies and billowing cotton candy white clouds. Skinned up knees and strawberry rump stains. All these and more were both the actions and the theater of our life upon the sandlot. But all were part of our daily deal with what we knew as life back in the day.

The older I get, and the longer I consider the question, “what makes life good or bad,” the more I come to appreciate that it all seems to turn on whether or not we once had a period of joy in our childhood or not – and here’s where life can seem to deal a very unfair hand to some people.

A small decanter of magic dirt from the 1950 home plate area of Eagle Field, collected in May 2010.

In working with people over the years, I met a lot of folks who seemed to know little more than abuse or neglect as kids. They had no golden sandlot memories. Only emotional pain and deprivation of love and protection filled their childhoods. These folks have a hard time seeing life’s normal adult setbacks as anything more than more of the same pain that’s always been there. They can’t buy into “it’ll get better” because it never was good. First base on the road to hope for these people is finding some time of joy in the past, even if it were simply a solitary thing or a single day.

New joy feeds best on the memory of a previous experience. Failing that, new joy feeds on the hunger for it. It’s where we live in the moment at peace, or in full body and soul engagement, with life.

Some of us were lucky enough to have grown up with two loving parents. Others of us were even luckier to have also grown up also with the love and joy that flowed from sandlot baseball as it was widely played through the early 1950s.

The sandlot soul never dies.