It was early on a Monday morning and the Pleasant Valley Day Care hadn’t opened yet. With both their mom’s having dropped them off early, little Miss Eden and her BFF, Isabella took the hostess’ suggestion to wait for their table in the Tiara Bar.

With Elmo,  the ever-present bark-eep, already mixing their favorite tall milk-tini (‘chilled, not stirred and 2-straws’), the toddlers got right to the business of catching up on the in’s and out’s of past Saturday’s Angela Anaconda. Pausing for a sip of her moo-juice, Eden quickly scanned the room and turned to Isabella after making sure none of the other little kids who’d begun arriving were anywhere within earshot.

I’m worried about my Mom. I know it was important to throw her a bone with the whole ‘mom-ma, da-da’ thing, and I did. But now she’s got this whole other thing about numbers”. A little puzzled, Isabella asked the obvious question; “What about them?”.

OMG…every morning it’s the same thing. She holds up one finger on one hand and another finger on the other and asks, ‘How many is this?’. Seriously, this has been going on for weeks and I’m about ready to cave and give her a ‘one’ just to shut her up. I mean really (sigh)”.

Oh I know what you mean, my dad-da is doing the same thing. He keeps asking me ‘How many is that?’. Seriously, Dad-da. It’s one. 1 and 1? It’s still 1. He’s got so far to go. I really worry about him, but all I can do is take it really slow.” (cue: upward eye roll and shoulder shrug).

Dogs may be man’s best friend, but one of my bests is now back in-country from working a long-term assignment in Asia. With Joel’s travel schedule of five-days a week since early in the year, he was finally going to be in Chicago. “We’ve got to get together”. I so and completely agreed. Granted, there have been plenty of e-mails and an occasional LONG distance phone call over the years, but nothing like the ‘trouble’ that comes when the two of us can get together across the same table in the same zip code.

But alas, with Rick still recuperating from his surgery and Joel having to entertain the client, it was not to be.

Adjusting our plan, we settled instead for a phone call – him in his downtown hotel and me, here. Knowing we were so close and yet still not together was actually kind of funny. But one way or another, we had made it happen.

Joel’s struggled through a lot lately. I’m so proud of him for entering a 12-step program that is slowly bringing him back to his good old self. But he’s not there yet. Amidst a lot of laughter (like the old times), we also managed to cover a lot of really real ‘inside stuff’. Two hours later, we both realized it was a school night and made our good-byes. Even though I have missed having him around, it was so very fine to have once more, been in each others company (as it were).

After hanging up, I laid in bed grinning, a big smile spreading across the face of my heart. In our eminently goofy way, we’d let each other know via the process that we were there for the other. The power of one. Excellent.

If you think about it, Thomas Jefferson and his trouble-maker friends in Philly knew about the power of one. OCCUPY, republican caucuses, KONY and anyone who has ever written a ‘Letter to the Editor’ count on it. did when they decided to take on Bank of America and the plan for monthly debit card fees ($5). Lady Gaga and her mom get “it” too.

The power of one.

All of them have pretty much the same seminal thought at work in this whole idea of one+one equaling one. My paraphrased analysis of the imagined conversation between the LG and her mom runs something like this:

We can easily mobilize a lot of celebrities to make a big splash and start a campaign to change hearts and minds. It could be a memorable 90-minutes of television.

That’s all well and good, but no matter how rich you are, it isn’t sustainable. Who’s got that kind of dough? I can imagine her saying to her mom, “So instead of starting one campaign, what if we start a million of them’. Uh?

Let me put it another way…if a like-minded person shares with two or three people they already know, that’s all it takes to begin shaking ignorance and hatred to their foundations. That’s it. And they tell two friends, and they tell two friends and away we go…that’s all that has to happen. Just worry about the one.

Take care of the one – just one – do that and you quickly join the chorus of a million other ‘one’s’ now speaking with a collective voice. Such a voice spills across borders and time zones with ease. Brilliant! So elegantly simple and concise. No wonder politicians and other symbols of the status-quo are nervous.

My marathon call with Joel the other night reminded me of a short adventure tale I’d written several years ago. Loving anything J.R.R. Tolkien, my short story outlined the trials and triumphs of a small hunting party making their way through a steep Norwegian forest. While the story-line and its’ characters were made up, the ideas underneath each of them were people I knew in real life. I hadn’t thought about it for quite awhile until the other night’s marathon call with Joel.

If I may, permit me to share the closing verse. For reasons that are yours, I trust you’ll enjoy it.

There are those that go ahead of us, blazing the trail and showing us the way round traps of the path unknown.

There are others who follow behind, watching, there to help those who fall behind, protecting us all from attack.

But the best of these is the one who walks along side. For in that one, Darkness can not slip in and steal the other away without raising the alarm.

It is the one that is we.

That’s it folks. Joel changed my life and still does. Many’s the time over the years that I’ve asked myself, “What would Joel do?” (WWJD). Lady G is no fool. Maybe she and Joel know each other? And all that goes back to the power of one.

If you really want to start some trouble in the name of Good this week, think about adding ‘me, myself and I’ – to your one.  Now you’re up to four. Do you see how quickly one adds up?

Live large. Be you. Be one.


See what Lady Gaga and her mom are up to:

Photo Credits: Girls Drinking Milk: In the Middle of It:

Boy With Bottles:;

Thanks to PhotoBotos for sharing “Ruff Water” and “Underwater Dogs” ( for turning me on to Seth Casteel’s work (!/home)

Go Your Own Road” by Erik Johansson ( compliments of PhotoBotos (

In The Middle of It:

Traveling Companions:Thomas Doughty (1793-1856)

Three Feet: dylyn: Traveling companions #Sodwana

Unitramps:Traveling Companions:

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About dan4kent

Born and raised in the Midwest, Dan lives in the Chicagoland area. With a grown son from a previous marriage, he has since built a committed relationship of 34 years with his partner Rick, the Love of his Life. Having written his whole life, he blogged the past 7-years because he has to write…he can’t help it. Know the feeling? There’s ‘good‘ to be found in all of it. “If all I do is leave someone (or something) better than I found them, then I’ve done my part. Thanks for letting me grace your screen, if only for a little while.”
This entry was posted in Inspiration, Life, Life Lessons, Love, Politics, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

One Response to NEW MATH

  1. Meaningful, long phone calls with one person reminding us of the one important thing to focus on….hmmm, I guess we were one and the same in our own unique ways. How wonderful is the power of one.

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