Sunday, August 26, 2012


To my son Tommy,

Lightning, thunder, wind, and rain seem to be the menu for today's weather.  So I figured I better write to you while BGE is still supplying us with power and Verizon DSL is still working.  Due to previous experience, I always assume when inclement weather comes our way that both of those utilities will fail us.

As far as thunderstorms go, this one seems fairly tame though sustained.  Don't get me wrong, any thunderstorm has its dramatic highs and lows and magnificent lightning strikes and awe inspiring power.  But if we compare them to the storm that ran through the area in late June or early July of this year, it is comparing lambs to lions.  That storm earlier this year actually scared me, and it came up so quick and without warning and knocked us (and half the state) out of power for a week   I actually had to move everyone off the second floor and huddled on the first floor waiting to run in the basement for safety if necessary.  Today's storm, by contrast, we can look out the window and try to count between the time we see the lightning and here the thunder.

That is how most everything in this world is compared.  Something is only incredibly bad if it tops the previous experiences.  It happens with storms, exercise routines, and just about everything life.  That is why any story you tell of terrific experience will be topped by your elders.  "You think that thunderstorm was bad?  You should have been here for the storms of Summer 2012!"  or better yet something more classic like "School was late?  When I went to school I had to walk 10 miles in the snow barefoot uphill both ways" can be heard by older people.  Sometimes like the former quote it is true and not exaggerated but many times, like the latter quote, things are romanticized and embellished.

It really is a shame.  We can get so desensitized to the power and awe of an event by previous experiences.  You should not let the fact that just because you had a better time before, influence your enjoyment of the present.  You should not let the fact that it has been worse diminish the fact that it is bad now.  You should not let the fact that you have seen more amazing lessen the power and awe of what you see now.  Comparison to previous events is only natural and is actually part of learning, but try to let each event stand on its own and have its "own day in court" when you decide how to describe it.  Until then we will just collect your experiences in your mind so some day you can tell your son "Voice recognition?  Brainwave recognition?  I remember when my father had to type his words on a keyboard and move this little thing around called a mouse to work and to write letters to me!"

Sincerely with love from your dad,

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