Present Tense

Raising Hell: Overrated

“Keep Calm and Carry On?  No, thanks.  I’d Rather Raise Hell and Change the World”


A friend posted that on Facebook the other day and it got me to pondering.  Don’t we need both types of people in the world?  The calm, deliberate types and the passionate, raise hell types?

For most of my life, I’d fall into the latter category, but I’m under no illusion whatsoever that I’ve done anything to “change the world”.  As a radio host and writer, I’ve certainly had a platform to exert some influence or at the very least piss a lot of people off, but true “world changers” are in short supply.

I admire those who can remain calm and clear-headed; who can see both sides of an issue/situation/disagreement and take their time to weigh in. They are typically much more measured and wise than those of us who mistake our passion and intensity for action.  I’ve lost count of all of the quick judgements and decisions that I’ve made relying on my impatient intensity.  In nearly all instances, taking my time would have saved me some trouble.

Sadly, we seem to be in an era where measured, moderate responses and opinions are derided.  Expressing empathy or exhibiting the ability to see both sides of an issue is deemed “squishy” or even worse “moderate” (when did that become dirty word?).  Passion certainly has it’s place in life and can fan the flame of our humanity, but it needs to be balanced with a bit of humility.

So, when I read a quote like that I cringe a bit.  It’s very either/or.  Why can’t we meld the two?  Ghandi changed the world without raising hell, as did Jesus and countless others that I’m too ignorant to name right now. I’m sure you can fill in the blanks for me.

There seems to be a cultural imperative that anger equals passion; that ‘raising hell’ will somehow change the world or at least your little corner of it.  I’m not so sure that’s true.  In fact, I tend to think that the best way to change the world is to change ourselves. I think we all need a bit more introspection and a little less ‘hell raising’; particularly if your idea of changing the world involves angry rants or posts on the internet.

I’ve been on a quest for truth for a few years now.  It began as I searched for a religious or spiritual path.  What I’ve discovered is that many of my beliefs, both political and spiritual, were just not true; they didn’t allow other viewpoints in.  I was closed off to the vast amount of  knowledge and wisdom that’s available to all of us.

So, we’re back to humility.  Admitting that what you thought was true, just isn’t.  I think that we would all do well to critically examine our political, religious, financial, spiritual or whatever beliefs.  You owe it to yourself as an evolving, growing human.  You may find that you’re raising hell for something that upon further investigation is complete crap.  You may be expending a ton of physical, psychic and emotional energy defending a position that is ridiculous.

So, what is it? “Keep Calm and Carry On, Raise Hell and Change the World” or sit quietly and open yourself to other ways of seeing and reacting?  You’re in charge.

November 10, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

A girl can dream…


And so it’s arrived; election day 2012.  I’m not sure what I’m more excited about; finally seeing who wins or being able to peruse Facebook without getting banged in the head by outrageous, insulting posts about “the other guy”.

Here’s what I propose on the eve of either retaining our current President or beginning a new administration.  Stop with the reasons the other guy/party sucks.  Give both candidates a few props.  They are both well-educated, accomplished men.  You may disagree with them on certain (or for some, ALL) issues, but they’ve both fulfilled aspects of the American Dream.

Put aside the snarky political spin about the end of life as we know it, should one or the other be elected.  Stop picking apart every sentence they utter.  Look at their lives as something to be admired and yes, respected.

Both are well-educated via elite institutions.  Both went out and did the hard work necessary to find themselves vying to be leader of the free world.  Both seem to be stellar husbands and fathers.  Their life experience is probably a little different than yours, but it doesn’t make it invalid.

I’ve heard so much bitching and complaining about what a rotten choice we have this year to lead our nation.  That’s unfair.  They took risks; they put their reputations and lives out there for all to see and endlessly dissect.  They have achieved vastly more than most of us Monday morning quarterbacks who sit on our couch clutching the remote, trashing them.

I get it.  Tomorrow at this time, there is an excellent chance that about 49 percent of us will be feeling emotions ranging from disappointment to blind, white rage about the results.  The other 51% will be tempted to taunt and do a victory dance.  Try a little tenderness; on both sides.  Let it sink in.  Don’t take it personally.  The sun will rise in the east and we’ll march on as a nation.

Look, I know that politics is a dirty, corrupt business.  Quite honestly, I’m agnostic about this election, which could be why I am so piously lecturing about remaining calm as we see the results of the most expensive campaign of all time.  But, I find myself in a place of relaxed pragmatism; one guy has to win and we all have to live with it. Period.

The past few months of this election have been painful to watch as friends, families and co-workers have chosen sides.  Politics has become a blood sport and it’s easy to get sucked in.  There’s an epidemic of bruised relationships over a couple of guys that really don’t have a personal stake in our lives.  Honestly, WE are in charge.  Let’s take back control and make an attempt to accept the results.  We’re better than the campaigns think we are.  Aren’t we?

November 6, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , | 10 Comments


We all need approval.  From someone.  It’s part of our human make-up.  I’m just like everyone else in that department.  As a morning radio host, our job security relies almost entirely on the approval of our listeners.  Or at the very least, the attention of our listeners. They don’t have to like us to listen and trust me, I’ve heard from enough of them who DON’T like me over the years to know this is true.  With radio ratings, it’s all about quantity; size matters.  I just have faith that it also means that they like our show…and me.

But, I think that most of us strive for and crave the approval of those we love.  We particularly want to make our parents proud. It’s a delicate balance for parents, I suppose.  The fine line between blowing sunshine up your kids bums and truly expressing your pride in their accomplishments.  My parents were never the blow sunshine types.  Their philosophy is that you didn’t get congratulated for breathing; everything had to be earned.  Respect, good grades, money, privileges, awards.  They didn’t hand you ‘self-esteem’ you earned it and not just from them, but from the world at large.

To many, that sounds pretty hard core; to others, it sounds familiar.  That upbringing has served me well in many, many respects, but it also left me feeling as if I’ve lived up to most of my parents’ expectations, but never got the props from them.  I’ve often commented that my mom and dad have no concept of the professional success that I’ve achieved and I’ll be honest, it’s bothered me.  I’ve let it eat at me.  I’ve resented that they haven’t gushed about my fame and fortune enough to fill my needs.  And of course, I’ve felt guilty about that resentment because they gave me a pretty great start in life.  Resentment and guilt.  Add in a little anger and you’ve got the three legs for the stool of unhappiness:)

My mom turned 92 a couple of weeks ago and then this past week, I turned 53.  She can be sort of loopy on occasion, which I  find charming because it’s softened her a bit over the years.  Anyway, I picked up the mail and there was a large envelope from my parents. I could tell it was from them because she has taken to putting not one, but TWO return address stickers on all of her correspondence; one with her name and one with my dad’s.  It makes me smile every time.

I figured it was a birthday card, but what I found inside was a Valentine’s Day card from me to them.  I’d apparently sent it while away at college and I was moaning about the fact that I felt like an “orphan” because I never got any mail from my brothers and sisters.  I complained that my mom was the only one who cared about me.  It was very self-pitying and dramatic.  The type of thing that I figured would make my mom roll her eyes.

Inside the old card was a note dated 10/26/12 and here is what it said:

I ran across this special card from one of my much loved daughters.  I probably saved it because it really touched my heart; back when I was worried that you weren’t very happy and I wished so much that I could help you find something to help you find a happier, more fulfilling life.  Well, you finally did find it:  the “man of your dreams”, a fulfilling and successful career, your beloved dogs (how many through these years!)
We’re so pleased for you and wish you not only this Happy Birthday, but as many more as we’ve had.
               Much love,
            Mom and Dad

Mission accomplished.

November 3, 2012 Posted by | Musings | , , , , | 44 Comments


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