Give Us This Day, Our Daily Bead: Make Someone’s Day

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My Holiday greeting

We’ll be heading out tomorrow, perhaps early Monday depending on how preps go—down to SoCal for the gifting & celebration, a few days…then Beatrice and I are gonna fly out of Tijuana via Volaris to Cabo for a couple of days, rent a car and drive up to La Paz for three days. SCUBA and snorkeling for me.

For one reason or other, neither of us are that enamored of the “holiday spirit” this year—probably why we’re going to Mexico. I’ve explained to Beatrice that it matters not much to me. I spent 8 holiday seasons living abroad, largely alone and in my own thoughts—not ever bothering to put up a single decoration. It’s somewhat of a relief to recapture that. I’ve often felt over the last years that the holiday season was mostly just a pain in the ass. Sorry.

…Unless it’s truly genuine, now & then.

Thursday I decided to undertake some long neglected maintenance on my BMW X5. It began with an oil change, filters, other fluids—at a place nearby where Bea takes her Infiniti. I already knew that the front driver side-axle CV boot was torn, but this guy’s inspection revealed that the passenger side boot is now torn as well. Whoa! It’s like 3 thousand clams for that job at the dealer, a little less at the Euro specialists. I began asking around & found Arturo. He wants my business and by Friday afternoon, I had two new—not reconditioned—left & right front axles replaced for $750, parts & labor—the price the dealer would charge for just one axle, the part itself.

It works fine.

…Back up. Thursday afternoon, while I was leaving the shop for the oil change, the guy who did the work stopped me as I was driving out.

“Can you check to see if I left my flashlight in your car?”

…I’d been watching him work. All the guys have these white, brilliant LED flashlights so they can inspect inside the dark engine compartments of the cars they’re working on. I checked around.

“Nope, nothing here.”

He kept his game face on, which I wasn’t to realize until just a couple of hours ago.

…Last evening Bea’s school had a collective dinner at a local place, teppanyaki style. 20-something elementary school teachers. I had the opportunity to talk to a number of teachers, even the principal, about having trained, armed teachers and encountered zero resistance. They naturally had already thought about cops or retired cops on site, but for sure: they understand they’re targets.

When we left, we went over to Khartoum in Campbell—a nightclub—with the lot of them. When ready to leave, Bea couldn’t find her purse so I went to the car to check. I didn’t find her purse, which turned up in the nightclub.

Instead, I found a flashlight rolling around in the back.

…I do all of my billing via PayTrust, for years now. The problem for things like vehicle registration is then, your sticker goes to South Dakota, a pain in ass. So I have the stupid government send my stuff to my home, because they’re stupid and you can’t fix stupid. I only bother to open physical mail about every 2-3 months. When you do that, you’ll find that 99% is trash worthy, so you never wasted any time. But so, I found the registration renewal and for the first time ever, smog cert is required for my X5.

I headed over to the same shop. By this point, I’d not even thought about the flashlight. Once one of the guys got working on my car, I did think about it. Went to the back, opened the door, retrieved it, brandished it and the entire shop of about 6 guys began making uproarious noise.

…Turns out, this is not just any flashlight. This is a $200 flashlight. The guy who lost it was there, and you’d have thought I’d just saved his firstborn from doom. The coast was clear, all are happy, and all the other guys had their fun, per the proper ethic of a place where everyone works hard:

“He CRIED! Hahahaha.” He’s been looking all over the shop, calling customers….”

He offered to take me out for tequila shots.

He made sure the owners gave me his employee discount. Saved me 10 bucks.

When I left, I wished him a Merry Christmas and added: “now you’ll never forget me.” He replied instantly: “Never!”

How simple it is, really. Fortunate how one human being can make the day for another at random like that, with the fortune of it making your day, by consequence.

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  1. Show us the fat vegans, and we’ll show you the fat paleo pushers.

  2. One might start to think that some of it isn’t even about diet.

    We live in incredibly toxic, stressful environments that are in many ways totally untoward for a primate. Some of our most common activities (i.e. sitting in chairs) have known deleterious effects on health and well-being. Our circadian rhythms are interrupted by artificial light, the sunshine blocked by the buildings where we spend the majority of our time. We walk less and drive more. We laugh less and scowl more. We know neither how to really work nor how to truly relax. A great many people do unsatisfactory activities for money, labour from which their is no visible, tangible product or benefit to them as people (as opposed to as consumers.)

    And some people’s hormonal balances are out of whack?

    How very surprised am I.

    BTW, is there anything weirder than the Scienters doing experiments for hairless primates on Iphones in cities on mice living in boxes and cages and then declaring “Mission Accomplished”? No wonder we apparently don’t know what to eat despite having successfully done so without their “qualified” help for a fair chunk of time. Of course, in the end, it’s not all about diet.

    • Could people live longer and healthier lives if we changed some things? Probably, but I think a lot of that is overblown. We’re still living longer than ever.

      • beans mcgrady says:

        Ah, but quality of life is so much more important than quantity of life. We all have to make choices in that game.
        By the way, I really enjoyed this post, and don’t really know why.

      • “By the way, I really enjoyed this post, and don’t really know why.”

        Well don’t ask me. :) Yea, it was pretty error prone, rambling, not tight. I usually do 3-5 good edits before I publish but I was rushed. I just tightened it up a bit.

      • aminoKing says:

        “By the way, I really enjoyed this post, and don’t really know why”.

        I enjoyed this post of Richard’s too and I do know why. It reminded me of the short stories I used to read in my grandmother’s Reader’s Digest magazines. She is long gone, but I am sitting in the very spot she sat many, many years ago.

      • “We’re still living longer than ever.”

        Minor quibble. We don’t really know about “ever” and “everywhere”. But even assuming we did, there is a big difference between living a longer life full of strength and vigor (Guyenet Ever-the-Beta will admonish me for talking in such macho terms, I’m sure) and tacking on a few enfeebled, drugged-up and immobile years at the end, as many of us do. As someone already pointed out, quality matters. I happen to be of the opinion that with the combination of medical technology AND an improved way of life we could likely have a bit more of both.

      • “and tacking on a few enfeebled, drugged-up and immobile years at the end.”
        People living longer but sicker, a report (with highlights for US and Western Europe) about 7 research articles in Lancet this month, from 480 researchers in 50 countries :

  3. I’ve been a reader for a long time, but never commented.

    Holy shit dude, your grammar and spelling today suck. Did you write this post drunk? Normally you’re quite astute.

    First of all, it’s Infiniti.

    ‘I already new’ – seriously?

    It just gets worse.

    Tighten up that ship man. Your stuff is always great. Except for today’s showing of utter English-language carelessness. You know that when I can share tons of your posts throughout the years without ever commenting and then have to slap you about on grammar and spelling that I must be some kind of strange wanna-be grammar Nazi. I guess so.

    • Really? It didn’t seem much worse than usual to me.

      I’m a bit of a grammar/spelling nerd, but I value content far above style, so as long as it’s not too terribly distracting, I just ignore errors, etc.

      {given the iron law of grammar commentary, I have made a mistake above.}

  4. Signing off myself for I don’t know how long. Deactivated FB today and think I’m going to cancel the smart phone too. I saw a commercial this morning for some phone company that talked about how we have the right to data and to upload and share the whole human experience. Rather than feeling warm and fuzzy about that idea, I got upset and logged in to FB just so I could deactivate my account.

    The whole of human experiences surrounds us everyday; there is always a chance to give to everyone you meet: a smile, a helping hand, a compliment at random on something you genuinely like or admire. However, we don’t do this. We can’t; we’re glued to our screens looking at the HumanExperiences of people we don’t know who live hundreds or thousands of miles away from us.

    So, Merry Christmas and Happy New Year, Richard and Bea and the commentariat here at FTA. Sorry to say I won’t miss you too much, I’ll be busy with my own experiences and wish you all the best in your own (no need to upload them, just enjoy).

    P.S. Richard, I’m just asking, did you alter the words of The Lord’s Prayer on purpose, or is it a typo? Only wondering as I know you are not religious and thought you might have some alternative meaning in mind (or maybe you Protestants/former Protestants use different language than the Catholics :-) ?)

    • Have fun Amy! Can’t say as I blame you, though I do give folks a side-eye who feel the need to announce such things. :)

      Commercials are bullshit. Always have been, always will be. I would be hesitant to take any inspiration from them – either positive or negative.

      “However, we don’t do this.” Please don’t assume your experience is the universal one. Facebook and smartphones are just tools, it’s important to understand the limitations of such tools, but to say that you’re going to throw away your hammer because you can’t use it like a screwdriver seems wasteful to me.

      As for the Lord’s prayer, I’ve always preferred the vulgate Latin. “panem nostrum supersubstantialem da nobis hodie”

    • “P.S. Richard, I’m just asking, did you alter the words of The Lord’s Prayer on purpose, or is it a typo?”

      Just wasn’t paying attention. Wrote the post rapidly, published and went to watch football and make dinner. Shoulda come back and proof read.

  5. I enjoy spending time with family, and the end of the calendar year gives us a convenient excuse to do that, but my wife and I have spent 2 of the past 5 ends-of-the-year at home with each other and a lot of time to relax. I really, really like that. I hope you will have had a relaxing time of it, too.

  6. Christmas isn’t a holiday because of the familial obligations, it’s actually a form of slavery.

    A holiday is when you do whatever the hell you want. Christmas is the opposite of a holiday.

    • Only if you let it be so.

      • You’re right, I going to go outside and shove my foot up the ass of the first person I see, it’ll make me feel much better.

        It can be a hellish ordeal or it can be an immensely enjoyable experience, it all depends on what I decide to make of it.

      • Some people will pay for you to shove your foot up their ass.

        Or so I’ve heard.

      • I am back home and have lost all desire to put my foot up someone’s ass.

        Let me spend the night at home or at a nice hotel, but please not at the home of a relative, I had three nights of that. I don’t know why the thought of my spending the night in a nice hotel seems to offend my family members, but it does.

        “Our home isn’t good enough for you?”

  7. Bay Area Sparky says:

    Or tipping the Itamae at the sushi place that doesn’t include them in the tipping pool.

    Did you see how grateful they were?

    White Elephant Xmas in our family. It’s a religious holiday not an excuse for society to shame us into spending lots of money on questionable values.

  8. You’ve got me curious: what kind of flashlight was it? Who makes it? The cheap import ones work pretty well for the money, but that must have been a damned nice one for $200.

    • Sorry, should have asked but I don’t know. It’s machined aluminum, anodized, all the techs use the same one and the guy was borrowing the shop owner’s one in the interim.

      If may have been like $170.

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