The Right Stuff

6 Degree Vignettes for May

It’s hard to be positive some days. When there is overwhelm, with lots of stuff to do, it is easy to get behind schedule. You may perhaps have health problems or financial worries, and looming debt or threat of impending doom may be enough to just paralyze you. And then the walls begin to close in around you.   Well, it’s times like this we think of those poor devils who really have it hard! The ones who are living through wartime conditions in Ukraine now, or the people who lived during the Great Depression. And if we really want to go way back in the “Wayback Machine,” we can just imagine what those folks were doing when tasked to build the pyramid at Giza!   Ways to stay Cheerful while building the Pyramid at Giza   It’s hard to stay cheerful all the time. You can think of “High Hopes” or “You Gotta have Heart” and sing like the birdies sing for a while with old musical medleys. And then people go out and just shoot themselves.   That’s not the way to do things, but you can almost understand when people get to the end of their ropes. And it’s then I am reminded of the Egyptians who had to build the Great Pyramid and had about 20 years to do it. I think of the great quote from Eddie Cantor: “It takes 20 years to become an overnight success!”   And now we know so much more about these guys. You can think of truckers and people who complain about tight deadlines. Those shipments must be delivered by a certain date in order to meet their quota. Imagine what the guys at Giza had to do to get a huge piece of rock moved from the quarry to the building site!  And that includes sailing it down the Nile on a barge!   Working the night shift   To paraphrase the great Bob Dylan, you have to: “Please her/please him…20 years of schoolin’ and they put you on the Day Shift!”  And those who try to be a success will have to try to suck up in order to be a “Suck-cess!”  It’s never a fair fight when we are always having to contend with “Corporate.” Be they modern-day CEO’s or the Pharaohs of yore…It always comes down to deadlines and having to move the merchandise. Alas poor Yorick, I knew him well. (He was the one who was stuck on the night shift at Giza!) The Stuff that Dreams are made of…   We have been raised to believe that if you have True Grit or The Right Stuff, you have it made. Whatever you want to call it, Bogey was right… It’s the stuff that dreams are made of. And it’s also the foundation upon which we exist.  The cornerstone of the American Dream is the belief that we all have a chance for success.   Moral Fortitude and small bits of beefed-up “Magical thinking” is what lies inside most Americans who believe in the American Dream. That is the belief that we can make it if we try hard enough.  Or if we believe in ourselves then our dreams are enough to keep us plugging away.   We all love a good challenge. But only when we think that there is a chance that we can succeed as much as the next guy. My Dad hated women to be called ‘guy’. But in many ways that can be considered a good thing these days.   Because it’s a generic term that can mean almost anything if you want to be seen as just ‘one of the guys.’ That comes in handy for most women. Especially in the workplaces of old. Those were the times when women may have been asked to turn around and walk for the boss and then wear short skirts! (Or not-depending on the shape of her legs.) American Delusions   America is and always has been this mythical, magical dream of high purpose and ideals. And the illusions are mostly delusions as we see the reality of the bubble burst. There are people who Do live in bubbles.  They are the ones isolated in their own grand delusions of themselves; with the belief that money can buy them a ticket to heaven or wherever they think they are going.   So that is one way to look at it. Keeping busy always signals to us that there is something that has been missing and we can “Fix It!” We can fix the broken parts by speeding up the narrative and just powering through.   Letting Go vs Let it Be   Have you ever experienced a dream so wonderful…and then you just couldn’t really remember anything about it the next day?!…   I am grateful that I do have the time and grace, the mind and heart and soul, and the body to know that there are flaws in the engine. Things are going to break down, and it’s not going to be what we want it to be. And there are times we just have to let it be. But “Let it Be” is often just another way of saying Let Me Be. Let it go and let it be are two different things.   By Letting Go, we acknowledge the past and all the faults that lie within us.  And that includes our own broken souls that may have been battered and yet have survived. By letting things be, we know the future will unfold as the universe has intended in mysterious ways. And we must let it be as God intended.  Because that is how the plot unfolds.   As writers, we are always hoping there may be multiple universes hidden inside the shell of our brain. (You may remember from last month…that’s the “Pale Fawn Fluff” that exists on top of my head!) And at some point, there may be an opportunity to bring those

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