Friday, February 11, 2005

Ice Cream and Pivotal Moments

I just got back from the grocery store. I had to go because of the evil writings of katriana, whom I just blogrolled. In her blog I read about mint chocolate chip ice cream and it hit me at a time when I was craving something sweet. I hereby officially announce that katriana has earned the first Curse of Erasmus. The fact that I blogrolled to her provides a tangible link between our two blogs, which should bring down the "property value" of her blog. That'll teach her.

Other than the preceding debacle it's been a good day. I did quite a bit of work today - I had an admin day to get some training material worked on. Have I told you all how much I like my job? Am I lucky or what?

So maybe as I sit here watching Law and Order: SVU I'll write out a little bit about myself. Where to start? I guess I'll start with what I'm like right now. I'm a very optimistic person - I decided a long time ago during my time in the navy that I wanted to enjoy my life. It took a while to do it, but I learned what I needed to do to keep a positive outlook on life. The only time I have trouble is times like what just happened. A "Monk" commercial came on and I had to sit and suffer through it. It really puts my self-training to the test.

Everybody has pivotal moments in life, some more than others, and they aren't always good. In fact, sometimes I think they might not be good or bad, but just choices that have major consequences. I can think of a few of those moments in my life that help make me into the man I am today. One was when I was very young. I was in the garage with my father. He was working on something, I don't remember what, and I got interested in a fan that was running. I asked my dad if a fan "made" air. He stopped for a minute and thought. Here's when a dad earns his pay - he could have just told me yes, because at that age you never stop asking questions. Instead, he said "No, a fan moves air". That answer may be the biggest influence in why I have such a scientific bent. I've always admired my father for that.

I like to think my sense of honor comes from my grandfather on my fathers' side. He and my grandmother were always such decent, upstanding people. They treated everybody with respect and showed me that you should help people whenever you can. My grandfather and I got to talking one day and I learned a lot about him. He lived through the depression which changed him quite a bit. He was an electrical engineer and he worked for General Electric for years. He and some others noticed something, however, that they found disturbing. As their older coworkers approached retirement they would suddenly be fired, which would invalidate their eligibility for their pension. He and his coworkers felt so strongly about this that they quit as a group in protest.

My grandfather also inspired my sense of loyalty to a loved one. My grandmother died when I was about 12 years old. My grandfather died about 12 years after that. His passing was long and painful, and it was very difficult to watch. I was in the navy at the time and came back to say goodbye to him. He wanted to see a priest (or pastor, I don't remember what his title was) and when he was talking to him I sat a little ways away listening. The priest was telling him that soon he'd be in Heaven - whether you believe in Heaven or not, my grandfather was one of the people you had no doubt belonged there. One of the most touching things I've ever seen was my grandfather, in tears, asking the priest "How will I find my wife?" He died not long after that. I hope that someday I have a marriage worthy of that kind of love and commitment.

How long did I stay with my wife because I was trying to live up to what I witnessed that day? I knew there was something wrong, yet I stayed because I didn't like the kind of person I'd become if I walked out on a mentally ill wife. Does that make what I learned from my grandfather a liability? I don't think so. If I knew then what I know now, I'd still stay, I'd just do things differently. It's easy enough to look back and criticize my own actions, but I think I did the right thing overall, even if I could have done things differently or better.