Being the best…That your genes will allow

November 2019 Posted in Columnists & Opinion

When he wasn’t chopping down cherry trees, George Washington used to keep a list of things he could do to improve himself. He did it in the form of a self-help booklet, and while some of the tips involved things like not picking fleas off yourself in the company of others and not complaining about the food you just ate, others are still pertinent, especially with all of the political rhetoric these days running so hot and heavy.

My two favorites are “Let your conversation be without malice or envy” and “Be apt not to relate news if you know not the truth thereof.”

Some folks – I’m thinking of talk radio hosts here – wouldn’t have much to say.

I have a list of things I could do better, too. Some are actual shortcomings, and others are more along the line of aspirations.

My all-time number one thing that I wish I could do is be more emotional. I never really understood why everyone else is so emotional. As it turns out, they are normal.

For example, some people are huggers. I would rather do just about anything than hug someone (with the exception of my wife and kids).

The reason, I found out, is genetic. My mother was Finnish. As a group, Finns may be the least emotional people on the planet. My mom’s idea of showing emotion was to shake my hand. Seriously. When I graduated from high school, I think she patted me on the shoulder. Suffice it to say, I was not one of those coddled kids we hear so much about these days.

I also wish I could tell a joke. I’m the only guy I know who has actually forgotten the punchline of a joke while I was in the middle of telling it. If there was a class in telling jokes, I’d sign up. I might flunk, but I’d still sign up.

I’ve also always wanted to play the guitar. I was in rock bands during high school, but I never learned to do much more than make a lot of racket. What passed for guitar playing then sounds more like white noise now.

I also wish I was handier. Some guys can fix anything, build anything and do anything around the house. Not me. I can only do what I call 10-foot projects. Those are projects that look pretty good – as long you don’t get closer than 10 feet to them.

Recently, though, I developed a strategy for getting things done around the house. I plan a project for when one or two of the kids are home for the weekend. I go out and get started, and the kids will see what a shambles I’m making of things and take it over.

I assume the role of supervisor, take a seat, and the project gets done as I watch. Pretty slick, if I do say so myself.

Of course, I have a lot of other shortcomings, but none come to mind right now. Maybe if you asked my wife she could come up with one or two.

Carl Sampson is a freelance writer and editor. He lives in Stayton.

Sorry, comments for this entry are closed at this time.