Our title today brings to mind Holden’s Caulfield’s Catcher in the Rye question, “Where do the ducks go when the pond freezes over?” My friend and colleague, Tom Bixby, asked me that at a recent company event. I didn’t have a clue what he was talking about. I never read Catcher in the Rye because I grew up in Lake Wales, Florida, when the school board was a wholly-owned subsidiary of the Southern Baptist Convention. My mother, the most Baptist of all Baptists, wouldn’t let her children use profanity such as “shut up” or “guts,” so Catcher in the Rye was a non-starter at my house.
It’s just as well, though. I was even nuttier and more prone to moroseness as a teenager; I needed no more grist for the mill, Rye or otherwise.
When Tom posed the question, I just barely stopped the reply, “South, you moron,” from passing my lips. Years ago, my sister told me that Facebook was not for me because I didn’t have “the necessary filter.” Yeah, she had and has a point.
I’m glad I didn’t call Tom a moron because (a) he’s not, and (b) insulting friends results in fewer friends, and I don’t have an over-abundance thereof – nobody I know has too many friends (except on Facebook).
The other thing that horrifies me about that potential response is, of course, it was absolutely incorrect for all the Southern Hemisphere ducks.
“Towards the equator” or “To warmer climates” would have been more accurate so that error and resulting humiliation were, thankfully and narrowly, avoided.
I’m sure you wonder how I keep from saying stupid(er) stuff than I do already each month during this time we have together. As you know, I have several layers (not in the chicken sense) that review my verbiage each month before it wings its way to you. I believe the typo and grammar police purposely miss one or two things each month because they like showcasing my stupidity and keeping me in my place of humility and humiliation. Note: it’s working.
I have a content editor that often asks me, “Do you really want to say that?” Answer: “Probably not in writing.”
I also have a Compliance Department review which keeps me from saying things which will get me in regulatory hot water. This is very important, and I appreciate them. No jokes here on this topic. In this litigious society and highly regulated business, it is all too easy to say things that carry meanings I never intended.
Once, years ago, during another bear market, I wrote a closing paragraph that was just poetic gold, in my humble opinion. It contained the words, “this too shall pass .”Compliance flagged that and told me I couldn’t say that because “it [was] promissory .”I objected on the grounds that the present will always pass, but they didn’t buy that bit of dodgery; they weren’t new to this game either.
So today, while I can promise the present will become the past, I can’t promise the future will be better than the present, not in the stock market or in any other aspect of mortal existence. That’s a happy thought, isn’t it? Well, let’s look at it from another angle.
You and I get out of bed in the morning each day because we believe the future will be better than yesterday. We not only believe in that possibility, but we also work hard to make it so.
Most of what we do: go to work, get married, have kids, work out at the gym, read books, and yes, invest in the markets, are possible because we maintain hope for a better tomorrow.
Each year Thanksgiving Day gives us a marked opportunity to evaluate and celebrate the goodness in our lives. The optimist says the glass is half full, and the pessimist says it is half empty. They are both wrong. The nerds correctly insist the glass is full, half water and half air.
Do turkeys fear Thanksgiving in the United States? No, they aren’t born with that capacity. Duh. They get to celebrate life each day they live it. Do turkeys really celebrate? I’ve watched them forage and strut in the wild, so I am going with, “yeah, they surely do.”
We should, perhaps, take a lesson from the turkeys and celebrate each day.
Any day is right for counting one’s blessings, especially on the fourth Thursday of November. This year, as your loved ones gather around a Thanksgiving table filled with the bounty of the farm and range, join with me and let the joy saturate you, the joy of our many blessings and the hope of those to come.