Balancing Act

It has been a few weeks since we’ve heard from Bart, the bear who found a cell phone. Apparently he’s been scouring the news wires, and is feeling a little sensitive about inexplicable inequalities. This has been translated from its original language – Ursus Textish.

Hey, Bart here.

Couldn’t help noticing this.

Bart – The Bear Who Found a Smart Phone

A bear shows up on a college campus, climbs a tree, draws a bunch of gawkers.

A guy shows up at Niagara Falls, climbs a wire, draws a bunch of gawkers.

The guy gets a live TV show and applause from a crowd of more than a hundred thousand.

The bear gets shot with tranquilizers, which makes him fall out of the tree, and then gets trucked off to “the forest”.

I’m not saying bears and people should be treated exactly the same, but what’s up with this? The bear was humiliated for doing what bears do naturally. What’s the crime? Yet there is nothing natural about a guy walking across a waterfall on a wire. Did you know bears have very, very good balance? We do!

The guy got celebrated and called a “daredevil”. But if I said I was a “beardevil” and tried the same thing, Animal Control and PETA would have a cow (yet another violation of the natural order)!

This cell phone really troubles me. Since I got a data plan, I’m seeing all sorts of things that just don’t make sense.

Your friend,
Bart

How good is your balance?

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112 thoughts on “Balancing Act”

  1. balance is a relative issue isnt it? i used to wrestle back in the day. i had the good fortune of having good enough balance to be able to hold my own in the wrestling arean and it was to my advantage because when a superior wrestler want to twist me to the right i coud lean to the left and make it more difficult while looking for a toe hold on some part of his body to latch onto and get him twisitng in the direction i wanted to go. i was ok at other sports but balance doesnt come up all that often. i used to have friends who lived on the railroad tracks and we would balance for as long as we could walking on the rails. it helps not to look down. just trust the sight of the track 20 feet in fornt of you instead of looking at the track 2 feet in front of you. my balance on water skis was fine as long as i got to use two skis. take me to one and i became a bobber very quickly. downhill sking was a good balance routine but the toughest time balancing in montana was the balance of night life and getting up in the morning to hit the hill. nowadays its the checkbook i have to try to balance. ill be drinking the cheap wine again this month.

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  2. Physically, I guess just fine.
    Railroad tracks were my first thought too, tim. I still like to do them when we go down to the Antique Power Show in Hastings.

    I like to think my emotional balance has gotten better with age, but then I think, maybe I’ve just gotten better at keeping that under wraps when I have to.

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  3. Good morning. I think I’m okay regarding balance, but I am learning to be careful. Due to my age, I am a little stiff and no longer light on my feet. I use railings on steps and I try to be careful about finding good footing in places where I might fall. I never had the kind of balancing skills it would take to be a tight rope walker. I’m fairly good at regaining my balance if I slip and if I do fall I can usually roll with the fall and don’t get hurt. Keeping my life in balance is always a big challenge.

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    1. Your problem Jim is that you’re way too tall. The next time you see your doctor you should say, “Oh, and could you take a few inches off the top?” I’m built like a Jeep, sturdy and low to the ground. When you fall you have a long way to go. People my height don’t have to worry about falling because we’re almost on the ground even before we start falling.

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      1. Your right Steve. My wife is short and she agrees with you. However, I am getting shorter and can no longer say that I am more than 6 feet tall.

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  4. Last week there was a weird bear story in the news. Some convict–a convicted child molester–had been released from prison. He drove into the woods and shot himself fatally. Along came a bear that dragged the dead guy out of the car and ate him, or mostly. That shows how indiscriminate bears are, for most humans want no part of a pedophile. The cop who found what was left of the body said it was the most grisly thing he’d seen in a lifetime of doing cop stuff. The authorities said it was a black bear, but me . . . I’m thinking it was a grisly bear.

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  5. A few minutes ago I tested my balance on my left foot. After 60 seconds I got bored and refilled my coffee. Sometime today I’ll check the other foot and post the results. It will be interesting to see how many more or fewer seconds it will take before I lose interest and go on to something else.

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      1. Wait a minute … you mean to say they take unsuspecting drivers – whose balances may be compromised – down lonely country roads and into dark fields to see how long they’re able to keep their legs lifted?! I’m not falling for that trick again! (insert Carlos joke here.)

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  6. I’ve always had pretty good balance – the dancing helps, I guess. Then I started doing T’ai Chi in the 90s (It’s where I met our Robin) and it’s been way better ever since. Our teacher would tell us to imagine the standing leg as an anchored weight (I used the visual of an elephant’s leg), which really helped. Still, because of bit of hip arthritis, I am careful on stairs etc. You just never know.

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  7. Don’t know if it’s old age or what, but my physical balance in horseshit, to put it mildly. Up until a few years ago I participated in all kinds of sports that required good balance; today I’m fearful of walking upright! Of course, my recent fall didn’t help; I’m now very mindful of that you can hurt yourself seriously by falling. If there’s any truth to Steve’s theory about that it helps being shorter, perhaps it’s Mother Nature’s way of assisting me that I’ve shrunk 2 and 1/2 inches in the last two years.

    OT – Husband and I went to Farmers’ Market this morning. On the way home we were stopped at a red light when husband spotted tim crossing the street. Husband honked, rolled down window, and we both waved. I could see from tim’s expression and his tentative wave to us that he was trying to figure out who the heck we were. The light changed to green and we had to go. It was then that I realized it wasn’t tim. For one thing he wasn’t wearing a hat; besides what would time be doing at the St. Paul market considering where he lives? We both had a good laugh as we sped off realizing our mistake; the guy is probably still trying to place us.

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    1. i just went to our market, only a mile away and saw tims hat. not tim under it but certainly his hat. a new babooner game–where in the world is tims hat. report all sightinsg to the fcc and the atf.

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        1. I have the party photos at minnehaha falls but I’m not in any of those ill send a link when I get back to civilazation

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        2. Have you all been drinking?? That guy in the hat IS tim. Unless “That Guy in the Hat” is Tim’s twin, but I don’t think God would do that to us.

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        3. Donna, now you’re messin’ with my brain. I swear there were two of them at the Tom Keith tribute, both wearing hats by the way. But I’m pretty darn sure the guy in the center of the back row is tim.

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      1. This is hilarious, – reminds me of “Who’s on First?” There’s the baboon who calls himself TGITH (That Guy in the Hat), and then there’s tim, who is also “that guy in the hat.” How are we supposed to keep them straight, for pity’s sake?

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        1. The question of how to keep me straight has been a discussion more than once over the years. I don’t know about the guy in the hat. He may have discussed it too.

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  8. I don’t know about the rest of you, but from time to time, my spelling self-confidence goes right out the window. Simple, short, everyday words suddenly look all wrong, but I can’t for the life of me figure out what I think they should be.

    Bipedal walking is sometimes the same sort of thing for me. Especially when I have time to just sit and observe other people walking. Even those low to the ground are perpetually falling, there is no way bipedal walking should even work-the center of gravity has to be so precisely balanced between those 2 dinky platforms known as feet, the whole structure really should just pitch right over onto its face.

    In an effort to get my size back down to something acceptable on the indigo scale (the point at which jeans fit comfortably and not embarassingly tight), I’ve started wearing my lovely free-from-the-library pedometer. An “active” person supposedly is one who does 10K steps or better in a day. I managed it yesterday (first day out) and am well on my way today (even with the rain) and have not yet landed on my face. awesome.

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    1. I agree that it’s amazing how we manage it with our relatively small feet, mig. If it weren’t for forward momentum

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    2. I know what you mean about the spelling thing, mig. How do you look up a word like “the” when you suddenly can’t even figure out what letter it starts with?

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  9. Normally very sure-footed, I have fallen several times in the past year. Early last September I fell and sprained my left ankle. Just when it had begun to heal, I fell and sprained it again. Both sprains were severe, I was busy with Rock Bend, and I didn’t take care of myself as I should have done. It didn’t heal for months. The doctor told me in December that it will always be a little swollen and weak there now. It seems like I fall more often when wearing my laced up and sturdy New Balance walking shoes – not my flip flops or Birks, no! My walking shoes. A couple of weeks ago I fell again and twisted my right ankle and skinned my left knee. I did this while wearing my walking shoes and walking across the clean and level parking lot at work. Sheesh. It’s like my ankles just suddenly go out from underneath me and there I am on the ground wondering what happened.

    Yoga really helps with balance. When doing the tree pose, you can imagine your left foot growing roots into the ground while you place your right foot inside your left leg and raise your hands in prayer position above your head. It helps to focus on something in front of you. I can do it without falling for about a minute now.

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    1. I would strongly suggest a good chiropractor for the ankle. I started with bad ankles at my chiro where I was sparing them multiple times a year playing softball . I had a first one tell me I should see him 3 times a week and quit softball second one treated me 4 times and I was good to go and I haven’t sprained it since. Moral, find the doctor who fits your expectations. Don’t let them proclaim you gimpy

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      1. I guess I am not very open minded about chiropractors. We made a little use of them in our family and it seemed that they fixed you a little and then did something that was not good so that you would need their help again. I think there probably are some chiropractors that you can trust and that will help you, but there are some that have the appearance of being quacks. Why would you want to work as a chiropractor when it seems to be a field that attracts quacks?

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        1. Au contraire, mon ami. There are tons of good chiropractors out there, held back only by the fact that they are still being called quacks. As in any field, some are better than others, but once you find a good one, he/she is able to “fix” things that an allopathic (conventional, drug prescribing) doctor can’t touch.

          I’ve told before of how I walked into my chiropractor’s office on crutches after a bad sprain, and walked out on my own two feet. Bones were out of alignment, and he put them back in alignment. It hurt for a second, and then it was OK. I was so grateful.

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        2. Oh Jim, I’m so sorry that that has been your experience with chiropractors. I suffered from severe headaches and migraines for most of my life. Nothing worked, but I never thought to consult a chiropractor because I had listened to all the bad press they had gotten. Then I started dating one, but we never discussed what he did, and I never sought his treatment. Then one evening I came home from having worked all day at the Renaissance Fair with an awful headache brought on by too much stimuli of every kind. I was white with pain. He took my head in his hands, and I thought he was going to kiss me. Instead he gave my head a quick jerk, an adjustment to my neck. Within minutes that headache vanished. I have been a believer in the magic they can work ever since and have sought chiropractic treatment whenever what ailed me had the allopathic doctors stumped. I might add that I have used Chinese medicine, acupuncture and other “alternative” remedies with great results as well. I think we do ourselves a great disservice by discounting what alternative medicine can do for us.

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        3. All right, I guess chiropractors may have some good ways to treat people that are not available from doctors. I’m sure that some of the alternatives to treatments not available from doctors do have value. Unfortunately there are people offering alternatives that do not have any proof that what they are offering works and that doesn’t stop them from claiming that they know that these things work. You might think you have been cured by using an alternative treatment, but without testing you don’t know that it worked. You might have recovered just as fast with no treatment.

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        4. jim my experience is that mds tend to look down their nose at you with god syndrome after your forty five minute wait to prescribe pain pills or antibiotics. My dad always said doctors should have to put their report cards on the walls. Too many c+ doctors

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        5. Some old prejudices die hard. Do you think medical doctors would refer you to a chiropractor and health insurance pay for your treatment if there isn’t proof that it works? I know, the allopathic medical establishment has been slow to embrace chiropractic treatment, and I’m sure some doctors still don’t, but do you really think health insurance would cover your chiropractic treatments if they hadn’t been forced to? And Jim, to your question about why you would want to work as a chiropractor when it seems to be a field that attracts quacks, I’d say this: Why would you want to work as a lawyer or banker? Both are professions that don’t exactly have stellar reputations.

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      2. I’m not apposed to alternative health treatments. I do think some people are too quick to embrace alternative treatments, including chiropractors, when they are sometimes being offered by people who do not really know what they are doing and are not really helping anyone.

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  10. I am quite unbalanced-always have been. I never could learn to ride a bike, even when folks were hired to impart the skill. It’s getting worse. I had vertigo for over a year and still can’t tolerate some motions. Being the mother of a child with brittle bones made me very concerned about folks falling down. Now I can’t stand to watch people defying gravity. I save a lot of money by not needing to but Cirque de Soleil tickets. This morning’s coverage of Mr Wallenda’s feat made my skin crawl.

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    1. B-A I have certainly come to understand what that anxiety is all about. Is the brittle bone condition something that you child will outgrow?

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      1. PJ Osteogenesis Imperfecta is a genetic disorder that doesn’t go away. The fracture risk is highest during bone growth. My son is 26 and has had about 150 fractures. He has a relatively mild form of the disorder and can still walk and do many things. Thanks for asking!

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        1. 150 breaks and he can still walk is a mild case. It takes a dose of another persons reality to appreciate our own doesn’t it? Glad the worst is over for him. Now we have to keep you upright.

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        2. Beth-Ann, I’m 69 years old and I have had 5, count them FIVE, fractures in my life. O.K., so the 3 most recent ones all happened at the same time, but I know for sure that each fracture was traumatic. I can’t begin to imagine what you and your son have gone through. Is your son able to live a somewhat normal life? It seems like the smallest mishap could be a disaster for him.

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        3. PJ, My son has a very normal life. He was more brittle when he was little but lots of folks went out of their way to make sure he didn’t miss much. I will never forget the pre-school teachers who carried him a round the circle in a body cast so he could be part of duck duck grey duck, the farmer who held him over a strawberry patch in spite of being encased in plaster so my son could pick and eat berries, etc. Yes the fractures are disruptive but because it takes less force for him to fracture he often has less swelling than you would so he can rejoin the world.

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  11. Afternoon–
    I trip and fall often. But I guess that’s different than balance… I have one good leg / foot combination and one bad leg / foot combination. In fact I’m balancing on the good foot as I type this. But the bad foot, there is no balance there.

    (Warning: Possibly offensive theater joke regarding lighting and dancers here:
    Why does dance lighting all have to be soft focused? Because if you use a sharp line the dancers will trip over it.)

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  12. Balance is an interesting brain teaser. The art of balance is keeping things on an even keel not too much of one thing and too little of another. Andy borowitz is a guy I follow on twitter, Facebook and just generally checking in on occasionally his home page say
    There is a fine line between doing social media and totally wasting your entire life (I’m cleaning it up) this is the kind of balance I get concerned about
    Netflix tv series downloaded by streaming gigs of stuff to your laptop iPad telephone game boy wii play station entire seasons to watch whenever there is a spare moment. My house has espn running non stop for the boys and teeny bop stuff for my fighters and law and order for my wife but instead of an hour or two a day each venue runs 24-7
    Balance is a new focus because it has never been so easy to watch listen and surround yourself with brainless tripe while eating nutrition less food and doing little to no ex resize. Look at pictures of the world in 1960 when everyone was built like joe average and if you saw a large unhealthy person it was an unusual memorable event . Today 70% is obese can’t do 3 pull ups and only reads vampire books or watches brainless canned laughter on the wall within 2 get of them even in the woods if they ever get there . Balance between invisible mediocrity and an effort to do better have never been less noticeable . excellence is like better than normal in this transitory age of vidiots and it’s cool but no big deal nothing matters and nothing lasts long and for every person who says it ought to be white there are two to say it ought to be black. I need to stay focused on the things I need to stay focused on. It’s easy to get distracted and not notice the poor job of balancing the things that are important and the sneaking in of all those enticing options that come in this brave me world as standard operating equiptment. If we had to go without tv or coke foe a week it would be the end of the world . Back to franklins 13 principles that are his idea of how to continually improve your overall balance this time around. I can use the constant reminder

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  13. Daughter tried to find some balance in her response to the various bills that came up at ND Girls State this week. She said that most of the girls were pretty socially conservative. She defines herself as a fiscal conservative and a social liberal. (I have never in my life seen her as a careful spender, but perhaps that is a quality that will emerge soon). She said that she helped shoot down a prospective bill banning gay marriage. Some of the girls wanted an anti-gay marriage bill because “the Bible says that marriage is between one man an one woman”. My daughter said that if they were going to use the bible, they should use all of the Bible, which also endorses slavery and polygamy. No one knew what to say after that, and the bill failed. She said,
    “If you are going to use the Bible, use all of the Bible as your basis for your argument, not just the verses you like”. I have no idea where she figured that out. Children must listen when we least expect it.

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    1. I’ve heard that argument tried with “adults” but it never seems to work. Sounds like the youth listened to the argument and were influenced by it. Excellent job Reneesdaughter!

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    2. Three of my favorite ignored bible verses. Do not ask my what rounding the corners of the head means. No one knows.

      Thou shalt not wear a garment of divers sorts, as of woollen and linen together.
      Deuteronomy 22:12

      Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard. Leviticus 19:27

      But the stranger that dwelleth with you shall be unto you as one born among you, and thou shalt love him as thyself; for ye were strangers in the land of Egypt: I am the Lord your God. Leviticus 19:34

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      1. A.J. Jacobs’ book “The Year of Biblical Living” beautifully reveals a lot of the contradictions in the bible, especially the Old Testament. It is revealing, enlightening and really gives you pause. It’s a good a read, and I recommend it.

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        1. Lisa, I probably still have it around here somewhere, so let me know when you’re ready and I’ll try to find it. It really brings to light some of the more bizarre aspects of the bible that most people aren’t aware of.

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        2. The Jacobs book is fascinating – especially stuff like not being able to sit where his wife may have sat on certain days, not mixing fabrics, etc. It begins to become like OCD on steroids – it is by turns funny, enlightening and thought-provoking.

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    3. The stories of the Bible are over 2000 years old. They were first written on vellum and other substances that don’t last. The tales were re-written over and over again, by many different transcribers, and I find it hard to believe that they’ve been handed down to us in their original form and with their original content. I find it even harder to believe that sane, intelligent people take them literally. I think it is valuable to take the messages and the intent from the stories, but to use them as the basis for argument in our current social context is bizarre. I hope I have not offended anyone with this outburst – and on a lovely Sunday morning, too.

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      1. Stuff for both top and bottom is generally called for (and therefore not worn daily – I am willing to appear unbalanced or off-kilter most days, sort of a visual warning of what lies inside the brain pan) and generally involves off-putting synthetics like firm lycra and boning…

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  14. OT – We had dinner with an old friend and an “old” couple we had never met before this evening at our friend’s house. We had a very lively and interesting conversation about politics, Obama, Republicans, Democrats, Romney, Bush (both of them), Clinton, American history, you name it. Balance never came up, but he’s driving a brand new Toyota Prius! He is 92 years young, and he had such a gleam in his eye. I swear that man was so engaged, knowledgable and well read that it was a delight discussing with him. His wife, in her late 80s (that’s a guess) was equally engaging. It was such a boost to my old brain to be reminded that you don’t have to give up being interested in what’s going on because you grow old. My latest old role models, Erik and Karen.

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    1. It’s funny what old gets slotted as growing older. My kids think we are all well read argumentative oldsters. Interesting…well…to each other

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    2. They sound cool, PJ. I think you are smart to look for models for growing old well. My friend Marilynn, whom I write each morning, is doing a good job of it at 89. And yet I can see changes that are warning signs to me, a certain “hardening of the attitudes” that I hope I can avoid. As I watch older people I try to avoid judging them but look instead for inspiration. It isn’t easy to grow old gracefully “or you’d see everyone doing it.”

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  15. Rise and Shine Big Daddy-os!

    Happy Father’s Day to the Daddies on-line. Today we are headed downtown to meet my Geeky son at Hell’s Kitchen, then the Stone Arch Arts Fest for celebration. Beautiful day out there.

    My balance is terrible and this is not helped by chronic sinus condition which puts pressure on the ears.

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  16. My daughter Molly got married a few years ago on a pretty August afternoon in Portland, Oregon. Distance and poverty kept me from having much to do with the preparations. A day or two before the wedding I cautioned Molly to not be disappointed if I didn’t make much of the wedding. I was delighted with her choice, but the two of them had been living together for two years, and this ceremony seemed to me like a way to get the bureaucracy of the church and government to belatedly give their blessings to an accomplished fact: John and Molly were already married, two hearts beating together, as far as I was concerned. I didn’t want to sound cynical, but . . . .

    The ceremony was set in a charming little supper club overlooking the Willamette River. I was driving to the ceremony when a song about fatherhood came on the car radio. It was Paul Simon singing “Father and Daughter.” I was about to laugh at the coincidence when, instead, the song got to me and I burst into tears, crying so hard it hurt. I couldn’t see, so I pulled over, as it wasn’t safe to drive. And I cried and cried.

    That was just my opening act. I cried so hard during the procession that Molly left John to rush to me with comfort. I cried so hard during the ceremony that the officiant forgot her lines and had to repeat herself until she recovered.

    Fatherhood. It is heady stuff. Happy Father’s Day to one and all.I’m looking forward to a call from Portland today.

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  17. my father/balance parallel is the hope that i teach as much by positive example as i do by negative example. the bible, i am told is 50% stories on how to live based on positive examples and 50% based on how not to live from negative examples. i try to keep it in mind and throw a positive one in every now and again to keep from getting too upside down. to all those with dead dads, enjoy the memories. to all those with live dads enjoy the moments you have left. to all you dads, celebrate your great moments and forgive yourself for the errors along the way and try to do better tomorrow. hope it was a good one.

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  18. My sense of balance is fairly good, I suspect because I move slower and take fewer chances than when I was younger. What comes to mind though is an image that has fascinated and terrified me since the first time I saw it. Google “old ironworker photos” and it is the 1st image, workers eating lunch on a girder with no safety gear. Every time I look at it or even visualize it, I feel dizzy and a little faint. Yet, I keep going back to it. Balance in my life? always working on it. Thank you all for the good topic/read. Happy Father’s Day

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