Long before Ferris Bueller, philosophers have been asking the age-old question.
Can a square peg fit in a round hole?
Like Ferris, I’d wager each of us has wrestled with it in one way or another – usually in junior high gym class or the lunch room. But from a purely geometric perspective, the answer is yes. It can happen.
Unlike the round pegs, when squares manage to fit, there aren’t many points of contact with the hole. If you were a triangle like me, there were even less points touching. It does get better. Now I know it’s not good or bad. There are always going to gaps of nothingness between us and the sides of the circles surrounding us. It is simply geometry.
But that was then. Going back to technical school as a grown-up has been great. I’m loving it. I bring so much more discipline to being a good student than I did as a child. I know who I am and value why I’m there. From a job perspective, I will have the training and credentials to do what my life has taught me I’m truly good at. Pretty amazing stuff. But like RuPaul says, square peg, round hole or triangular puzzle piece, you don’t get to the other side without “work”.
I have peers who are already talking about retirement. And yes, there was a counterintuitive element in deciding to put my working life on hold in order to go back to school. So what did we do?
To paraphrase Ferris, we stopped, looked around and decided not to miss anything. We put our heads together and planned accordingly.
We knew my academic track was going to be intense and filled with pressures to test us both. But we also knew the bulk of it would be done in 6-weeks or so. And apart from seizing my own destiny, certifications and brand-spanking new credentials weren’t going to hurt my earning power after we were done with the manic marathon masquerading as a sprint. All in all, a worthy quest. Let’s do this.
Fitting squarely into a round hole isn’t accidental. For all our planning on revenue calendars, bill cycles and due dates, we’d done pretty well triangulating what we needed to do with what and when. Bills get paid. No one walks. No one starves and no one lives outside. So far, so good.
But Life happens. For all my alleged cleverness, there was one thing I hadn’t factored into all the spreadsheets. My coffee intake has gone WAY up as I conquer the reading lists, class work and cramming for exams.
In high school and college, I relied on soda for my caffeine. But I’ve since put away childish things and now, my drug of choice is coffee.
We’ve got the good beans for grinding…that’s for the weekend.
For the other five-days of the school week, it’s Folgers. Classic Roast, Medium…48-ounces AKA three-pounds. Easy to make, tastes pretty good and helps offset the challenge of sleeping less than 8-hours if I haven’t done a good job of managing my day like a Swiss train schedule. But again, I’m doing it. There’s a point to all of it. Another cup, please.
This morning, I went to make a second pot, opened the air-tight lid and saw the bottom in my round red cylinder . Danger Will Robinson. With only enough to last another day…maybe two, I also knew revenue was X+Y Days away. But I had to have coffee. We can do this. As I’m getting ready to leave, Rick calls out, “Hey, we need milk too. Do what you can”.
Houston. We have a problem.
So there I am, driving to the shopping nexus we frequent, knowing we now needed milk and the aforementioned java. Though I’m still not sure why, I relayed what we needed to the Cosmos as I got into the car. Weird? Perhaps, but that’s how we square pegs roll.
Then on a whim, I decide to take a different route. I’ve just got the feeling to go to Sam’s first. No particular reason why. It’s not my normal travel path, but hey, I know the 48-oz Folgers is about $10 or so and I’ve got $13 in my pocket. I figure I’d rather spend my cash on coffee and get a gallon of milk from the Aldi across the street than get two gallons and not be able to pick up any coffee. The quarters in the car caddy will only go so far and pay-day is farther away than I’d like, but like I said, it’s fine.
I walk in, flash my membership card like I’m the President and proceed directly to where my beloved bean lives. Walking up to one of the square pallets and its stacks of red canistered glory, I rub my eyes! What’s this? An instant manufacturer’s rebate at check-out! Doing as much of my happy dance in the aisle as I can without being questioned by store security, I’m floating on air as I walk up to the long check-out lines of fellow shoppers whom I surmise are either planning to feed their entire zip code or simply laying in stores for the upcoming apocalypse. But again, I’m chill. Whatever is causing them to have stacked their carts high, that’s cool. I’m clutching a great deal. I’ll wait my turn.
“Is that all you have?”
Snapped out of my euphoric daze, I see a woman looking back at me some three shoppers away.
“Yeah, that’s it.”
“Why don’t you come up in front of me.” Turning to the other shoppers between us, she asks, “Do you mind if I let him up? He only has the coffee.”
Before you can say ‘Lift-off, we have lift-off’, I’m in the middle of a drive-by random act of kindness.
“Sure”, says one shopper. “I wish we only had one thing”, says another. And before you can say ‘zip, zip, zoom’, I’m counting out my cash to the cashier who, I might add, is now smiling as I ask her, “Did you see what this nice lady just did?”
“Sure did. Sometimes you don’t see the good things coming. That’ll be $7.23”
I’ve read all kinds of articles on ‘flow’ and how it works in all kinds of people from artists to street sweepers. When you’re in the zone, doing what you were meant to do, all else falls away for just a little while and you approach the Perfection resident in all of us. I think there’s some of that at work with me.
I don’t understand why so many are all wound up tight about Transgenders needing to pee. What? Are you frustrated it isn’t so easy to beat up on the gays or lesbians, so it’s time to mug Catelyn and her sisters and brothers on their way to the bathroom? I am wrestling anew with still being a smoker as I re-approach quitting again. I wonder if I’ll ever find myself where my insurance and the right dentist intersect. Do any of these pegs ever fit nicely? Does geometry recognize love as a part of the equations swirling around us?
I do not think of myself as a lucky man. If I were to decide to rob a liquor store in the name of Temperance, I’d trip on the curb on my way out just in time to see the police booting my car. It’s just the way it is. I’m OK with that too.
But for all of that I stand before you today simply amazed at how all these little things come together when you simply acknowledge what you need when you look up. I don’t understand it. I never anticipated getting the grant money I did. I don’t know how I’ve been able to keep my eye on Rick and the relationship while I burn the midnight oil over my books. I don’t know why I’m happy in the midst of all the chaos. Maybe I’ll never know.
What I do know is I am loved and I just walked back into the house with an amazing story, three-pounds of coffee, two gallons of milk and money left in my pocket.
“After all, life moves pretty fast; if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”
Work on your pegs this week. Show some love to somebody who doesn’t see it coming. See you out there.
And now for the value-added portion of our program…
It is National Chocolate Chip Cookie day today. Do your patriotic duty.
And for you square peg trouble-makers out there. It is with special excitement to announce that in Chicago, this Thusday, it’s Ferris Fest, celebrating the 30th Anniversay of “Ferris Bueller’s Day Off”. Several clever hoteliers (including the famed Palmer House) have put together packages that invite people to mimic Matthew Broderick and the gang’s characters, re-creating his day of big-city fun…complete with scripts and tours of the city and the parade in the middle of that famous day. They’ve even remembered the parking garage with its famous run-in with the Ferrari. Only in Chicago!
WILLIAM JOSEPH SCHALLERT
(July 6, 1922 – May 8, 2016)
Schallert died on May 8, 2016 at his home in Pacific Palisades at the age of 93, six weeks after the death of his on-screen daughter Patty Duke on March 29.
“The television star, who had numerous supporting roles throughout his career, died Sunday at his home in Pacific Palisades, Calif., his son Edwin confirmed. While not revealing the cause of his death, his son said his father remained alert and was not in pain during his final moments.
Schallert is best known for his years on “The Patty Duke Show” during the ‘60s, in which he also played the uncle to the identical twins played by the show’s star, Duke. He reunited with Duke and original cast members in 1999.
Actor William Schallert died over the weekend. He was 93.Actor William Schallert died over the weekend. He was 93. (Alberto E. Rodriguez/Getty Images For A&E Networks)
His death comes on the heels of Duke’s death. The Oscar winner died on March 29 at the age of 69.
He went on to appear in countless guest roles in hit shows like: “Leave It to Beaver,” “The Twilight Zone” and is beloved by many “Star Trek” fans for his appearance as Nilz Baris in 1967.
He continued to act in his later years, appearing on “Desperate Housewives,” True Blood” and the 2008 TV movie “Recount.”
Aside from his many roles, Schallert was also the president of the Screen Actors Guild from 1979 to 1981. Instead of simply holding the title, he was a vocal union leader in Hollywood who led a 13-week strike for better actor pay.”
By Melanie Dostis (NY Daily News) with Wire News Services: http://www.nydailynews.com/entertainment/gossip/actor-union-activist-william-schallert-dies-93-article-1.2630963 and https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/William_Schallert ; Photo Source: http://www.newstimes.com/entertainment/the-wrap/article/William-Schallert-Character-Actor-and-Former-SAG-7423095.php
(May 23, 1925 – May 8, 2016)
Chinese Bishop Zhang, who defied government, dies at 90
Bishop Zhang was born on May 23, 1925 and was ordained in 1950. He was deemed a “rightist” by the government in 1958 and suffered for his faith during the political turmoil that lasted for decades until 1978.
After his rehabilitation in 1980, he was secretly ordained bishop of Anyang the following year and lived and worked without government recognition.
In 2004, once he was certain he could accept government recognition without joining the Chinese Catholic Patriotic Association he agreed to be openly installed as bishop, AsiaNews reported at the time.
Anyang Diocese developed well under the leadership of Bishop Zhang and now has 30 priests and 129 nuns from St. Joseph Convent serving 50,000 Catholics.”
“…The diocese offers medical care to residents, especially in field of eye care, with at least 11 clinics, a hospital, and a kindergarten.”
http://www.ucanews.com/news/chinese-bishop-zhang-who-defied-government-dies-at-90/75984; https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Thomas_Zhang_Huai-xin; http://www.asianews.it/news-en/Calm-episcopal-ordination-in-Anyang,-a-model-for-the-mission-in-China-34953.html
Which is a better fit? A round peg in a square hole, or a square peg in a round hole? NASA had the same problem. Here’s a short, fun read from Nick Berry, a very smart guy who makes it all easy for the rest of us mere mortals.
Banner Coastal Redwood Forest by Eric E Photography is used with permission.
Ferris Smiles: Image credit: DisCubed.com; SQUARE HOLE GAPS by dan4kent; Multicolor Project Planning Gantt Chart (Source): http://www.ganttchart.in/GanttChartsExamples.html; Folgers Classic Roast: http://www.costco.com/Folgers-Coffee-Classic-Roast-48-oz..product.100001473.html; National Chocolate Chip Cookie Day – Find some great recipes for God’s Cookie at http://thespringmount6pack.com/2014/05/national-chocolate-chip-cookie-day/; Square Peg Round Hole with Traingular Tendencies by dan4ent
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