Monday, June 13, 2016

Do Something

I've been reading this book off and on since Julie picked it up on clearance. It's not a difficult read, not intellectually stimulating, it's simple... just like the man it's about.

Dan Ewald was Sparky Anderson's personal assistant from the time he (Anderson) arrived in Detroit. They forged a bond and remained very close after his retirement.  He focuses on all the small things, as he was Sparky's right hand man. Offseason, spring training, charity appearances, retirement, deathbed.

I haven't made it to the middle of the book yet, where the pictures are located. Each chapter is six-to-twenty pages, so it's my kind of reading.

If I don't read another page, the one excerpt that struck me was from one of Ewald's last trips to visit Sparky at his Thousand Oaks, California home. Sparky was an avid morning walker and prided himself on keeping in shape without the gym.

One Sunday morning, the author noted catching up to him on a walk. He had three newspapers in his hand and was coming off a neighbors front porch. A warm greeting, followed by a "what the hell are you doing with those papers?!"

"Danny, my boy! The paper boy leaves these at the end of the lane. I don't know anyone that lives in these houses, but the way I figure, I get these up to their front door and save them a few steps in the morning. Might be the best thing that happens to them today."

The one thing I've tried to pound home to my boys is that you leave things better than you found them. Don't just put the Legos away, take that cup into the kitchen too. Don't just stack the books, take them over to the shelf.

Many young parents struggle with explaining  the world we live in to their brood. Sometimes an explanation isn't necessary, it's simply living and leading by example. Yes, I have my flaws and I get saddened when I see my worst come out in my child. It makes me conscious of my actions and I don't repeat them (Julie may disagree).

In times of peril, we all know that we like to shift blame. This is stupid. It accomplishes nothing. Opinions are nothing more than thoughts and words and not.a.single.person. shares the exact same mindset.

When Julie and I were trying to conceive (Reid), I developed a habit of 'doing extra'. Every time I entered a bathroom, in my home, at work, anywhere... I always noticed a paper towel that missed the trash can. Call it karma, call it superstition, call it doing the right thing, I ALWAYS picked up anything that was strewn haphazardly onto the floor. I did this (among 528 other things) for fourteen long months. (I still like to think that the Big Man made note of this when science and divinity intervened)

After she became pregnant with Reid, it's something I still do. Whether I'm standing in my boxers at 5am or dressed up for a wedding - if the bathroom is unkempt, it gets tidied up by me. What I realized in retrospect is that it's just something I do. It's not something I ever thought I'd blog about, I'm not looking for adulation or a janitorial medal. It's making a point.

Since I've been an uncertified bathroom custodian, I have never once had a angry feeling come over me. It would be easy to have some resentment when I crouch over and palm a wet piece of paper (sometimes with nasty, squishy stuff in it). There have been my share of willies after scooping up a clump of hair, I just thank God I've never visited a ladies room (although I hear they're cleaner any way). But long to short, it's a simple act of kindness. I feel better and maybe someone else does too. I went from doing something to get something to doing something with no strings attached.

I see lots of inspirational quotes. I think we all do. What we, as humans need, aren't more words. If that were the case, we'd be the most inspired and motivated group of life forms any where. What we need as a world is action.



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