My Cat Zippy’s Tell-All Book

My Cat Zippy’s Tell-All Book

This is my first tell-all book. Spoiler alert: My owner, Tim Jones, is cruel. He never shares his ice cream or caviar with me. And he adopted a mangy cat off the streets without consulting me. He calls him Buddy, yeah, like we’d ever be friends.

This is my first tell-all book. Spoiler alert: My owner, Tim Jones, is cruel. He never shares his ice cream or caviar with me. And he adopted a mangy cat off the streets without consulting me. He calls him Buddy, yeah, like we’d ever be friends.

In these contentious times, it seems like every week there’s another tell-all book promising to reveal shocking secrets of sordid behavior by a politician or celebrity. Being neither a politician nor celebrity, I was taken aback when my cat Zippy jumped on the bandwagon with his own muckraking treatise – all about me! Out of a warped sense of courtesy, his publisher, Random Mouse, sent me an advance copy. It’s full of lies and half-truths. I doubt Zippy penned it himself, given his lack of opposable thumbs. But then, I have noticed him often lurking by my keyboard.

At the risk of letting the cat out of the bag, here are a few startling passages from this disturbing publication. The full title is CATastrophe – An Unflinching Look at the Horrible Cruelty I’ve Had to Endure for Years at the Merciless Paws of My Evil, Heartless Owner, Tim Jones, Who Lives on Camano Island, WA and Who Could Stand to Lose 25 Pounds. If you ask me, that title is overly lengthy. He should have hired a better editor.

Page 13: “I didn’t choose the name ZIPPY. Like most everything else in my life, it was foisted upon me without consultation or consideration of my feline feelings. Why not a dignified moniker such as Buttons or Tigger? But Zippy? What was he thinking? I asked my owner, Tim Jones (if that’s even his real name) why he chose it. Acting like he doesn’t understand Catspeak, he merely gave me a goofy blank stare and patted my belly. I hate it when he does that. I keep telling him to scratch my ears or chin. But no, he always lunges for my ticklish underside. So insidious…”

Page 88: “Then there’s his annoying laser pointer. He’ll move it left and right, up and down, zig-zagging across the room, until I get nauseous. He thinks it’s hilarious to point the red light at a wall and watch me pounce on it. Splat! I’ve repeatedly asked him to cut it out, but he doesn’t utter a word (apparently the cat’s got his tongue). He just grins, like a Cheshire cat, getting some sadistic pleasure from torturing me…” 

Page 147: “Every day, I stare out at the birds hovering around the feeder. There they are, not six feet from me, separated only by a pane of glass. So plump and tasty, especially the chickadees. But Tim refuses me even a feather for a snack. I’ve been drooling for just one tweet – er, treat –  for 35 years (ok, 35 CAT years, but that’s over 1,825 human days!)…” 

Here I am tying my owner’s shoes, using the standard Cat’s Paw knot. Tim gets all hissy when I bite the laces to pull them tight. He just doesn’t appreciate fine craftsmanship.

Here I am tying my owner’s shoes, using the standard Cat’s Paw knot. Tim gets all hissy when I bite the laces to pull them tight. He just doesn’t appreciate fine craftsmanship.

Page 260: “One time when my captor opened the front door, I made a bolt for it. Other cats might be afraid they’d get eaten by a coyote, but not me. I’m no scaredy-cat. Oh to explore the amazing outdoors! My escape would have worked, too, except for one thing: He shook a bag of kitty treats. I am powerless to resist that sound. I froze, turned, and zipped back inside. Hey, maybe that’s where he got my name?  I forfeited my momentary chance at independence for two measly morsels of Friskies bits. In my defense, they were catnip-flavored, so I really had no choice…” 

Page 355: “I don’t understand why my owner never shares his human food. Several times a day, I watch him stuff his pie hole with English Muffins, burgers, ice cream, Cliff bars, you name it. Whatever he wants. But does he offer any of these goodies to man’s best friend? (Sorry dogs, take a number.) Heck no! It’s always the same entrée: dry cat food pellets. What am I, a rabbit? Oh sure, once in awhile he offers me a can of moist food, something called “chicken” or “mariner’s catch”, but I’m pretty sure they’re not serving any of this crap at Benihana’s. Would it kill him to serve me filet mignon once in a while? (Preferably medium rare – I hate when they over-cook it)…” 

Page 499: ”Every few months, Tim does something deeply perverse. He brings home a litter of foster kittens. He claims it’s his mission to socialize them with humans so they will make happier pets for some other family. But I know he has a Machiavellian plan to keep one. Thank God for his wife, who nips that in the derriere. Anyway, while these newborns are nosing in on my turf, guess how much time Tim spends with me. That’s right; Zilch, Nada  – except when, without warning, he hauls me into their room and drops me in the middle of the meowing horde. Next thing you know, five mini furballs are trying to nurse off me. Did I mention I’m a male? But they don’t care. I plan to sue Jones for pain and suffering from all their nasty teeth marks…” 

Page 572: “My owner sometimes forgets that, as a cat, I’m supposed to live life on my terms. I’m related to lions and tigers, so it’s stressful living all my days on couches, beds and windowsills when I’m destined to be free. And then there are all the absurd rules he imposes like, “Don’t eat the flowers” and “Stay out of the washing machine“ and “Stop watching On Demand. That costs me money.” He’s crushing my soul…” 

Here I am with my baby “brother”, Buddy. If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times: the salad bowl is mine.

Here I am with my baby “brother”, Buddy. If I’ve told him once, I’ve told him a thousand times: the salad bowl is mine.

Page 691: “For reasons I can’t fathom, he gets a real bug up his butt whenever I pee on the bed. What’s his problem? It’s so demeaning to squat in a pile of sand in the laundry room. I’m pretty sure the ‘wight to wizz wherever I want’ is one of the freedoms specified in the Constitution. I feel so persecuted…”

I’m only about a third of the way through, and apparently it gets worse. I haven’t gotten to the part where he accuses me of profound emotional cruelty for neutering him – or for the time I dressed him up like a ladybug for Halloween. He’s never forgiven me for that.

Zippy never once interviewed me for my take on his lurid accusations. I considered filing a defamation lawsuit, but my attorney said collecting damages from a house cat could be a long shot. So, I just might keep Zippy out of our bedroom for the next two weeks. That will teach him a lesson.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021.

You’re as Good as Anyone Else – Well, Almost

You’re as Good as Anyone Else – Well, Almost

Look at all these happy, successful, well-adjusted people. Makes you feel a tad inadequate, right? But you have a basement apartment and live alone with Chester, your parakeet. I’m certain none of them has that. So who’s the real winner in this story?

Look at all these happy, successful, well-adjusted people. Makes you feel a tad inadequate, right? But you have a basement apartment and live alone with Chester, your parakeet. I’m certain none of them has that. So who’s the real winner in this story?

In our technological world, nonstop streams of tweets, Instagram photos, Facebook posts, and texts bombard us by the minute – unless you’re Amish. As a result, we non-Amish folk are exposed to an onslaught of messages reminding us we’re not good enough, not attractive enough, or not successful enough – or all of the above, like my shiftless, irresponsible nephew Axel, who wins the trifecta. Alas, we live in an increasingly superficial world.

Most people can’t live up to the impossible standards imposed by TV and online ads with perfectly proportioned people telling us how to become slimmer, earn more money, and save up to 15% on our car insurance.

My advice: STOP COMPARING YOURSELF TO OTHER PEOPLE. You are as good as anybody else in this world (except, of course, George Clooney or Scarlett Johansson). It would also be foolhardy to compare yourself to an incredible success story like me. You might be surprised to learn that I’m a nationally sought-after expert on how to lead a happy, successful and emotionally fulfilling life. (That’s because it is a lie. I do tend to lie a lot, but in my defense, I only do this when I’m conscious.) I have written countless books on leading an effective life, including such titles as  YOU’RE GROUNDED FOR LIFE – Misguided Parenting Strategies That Sounded Good at the Time, and …, um, well, okay, just that one book, actually.

Let’s look at some common areas where people yearn to keep up with, and surpass, the Joneses – or at least this Jones.

Wealth: Why is everybody obsessed with being rich? Experts like me agree that lasting happiness can’t be measured by one’s net worth. It’s about being present each day and enjoying the small pleasures in life, like a walk in a park, reading a good book, or taking a month-long Mediterranean cruise in a first-class cabin. Look at that ostentatious Maserati in your cavernous three-car garage. You’re not fooling anybody. That man toy isn’t going to bring you long-term joy. Let me take it off your hands, so you can plant a garden instead. There’s nothing more heavenly than plunging your hands into the rich earth (unless you consider driving a Maserati – that’s Heaven).

It is perfectly natural to envy people who seem to have it all. Take this couple. They are rich beyond your wildest dreams, own five houses, and spend their winters on Mykonos. Two weeks after this photo was taken, she caught him cheating and ran over him in her Bentley. He’s dead. She’s in prison. So, the story has a happy ending.

It is perfectly natural to envy people who seem to have it all. Take this couple. They are rich beyond your wildest dreams, own five houses, and spend their winters on Mykonos. Two weeks after this photo was taken, she caught him cheating and ran over him in her Bentley. He’s dead. She’s in prison. So, the story has a happy ending.

Career Success: I remember as a twenty-something always trying to impress my work colleagues. I was determined to claw my way over those co-workers to scale the corporate ladder of success. Then I became a dad and realized the true meaning of success: making sure my two toddler daughters didn’t claw their way over each other and accidentally kill their sibling.

So what if you never make it to VP, with a corner office on the 27th floor? Based on your 2.0 college GPA and your series of odd jobs arranged by your uncle, it’s amazing you landed that job at Dunkin’ Donuts. Don’t fret that you might be a disappointment to your parents – that’s a given. In my book you’re a superstar, buddy.

Physical Beauty: Stop what you’re doing and go look in the bathroom mirror. What do you see? No, I’m not talking about that zit that wasn’t there yesterday. Look at the face staring back at you. Look deep within those eyes. Even if you’re not technically “attractive” or you’re just “average looking” or even “mildly repulsive,” my point is that real beauty is on the inside.

The only people who care about your external appearance are members of the opposite sex, your own sex, potential employers, and anyone with a vowel in their name. Personally, I like you just the way you are – but I would suggest trimming your beard. You’re starting to look like a Duck Dynasty dude. And consider covering up that “I Love MY Mom” tattoo; a nice sentiment, but not a winner with the ladies.

Creative Talent: My wife is an annoyingly talented artist, having been commissioned to paint the official portraits of governors, symphony conductors, and Pentagon officials. Next to her, it would be easy for me to feel insecure about my own artistic capabilities. That’s because the most creative artwork I ever produced was a clay bear in first grade – but in hindsight it does kind of look a toaster. No wonder my teacher used it as a door stop.

Do these peoples' chiseled bodies make you feel bad about your own physique? Don’t fret. They were born that way. So how can you feel better about your paunch? No clue. Nope, I got nothing.

Do these peoples’ chiseled bodies make you feel bad about your own physique? Don’t fret. They were born that way. So how can you feel better about your paunch? No clue. Nope, I got nothing.

Furthermore, I live on an island of exceptional people, Take Jack down the road who makes violins by hand. Or the O’Shea’s who built their own home using nothing but debris they found lying on the beach. Perhaps driftwood wasn’t the most sound choice of building materials, but you get my drift.

My point is that we all have our own creative gifts if we look hard enough. For example, scrunching up your laundered clothes rather than the traditional folding represents a free and uninhibited spirit. Or how about the innovative way you’ve let your dirty dishes stack up for the past three weeks. Very Jackson Pollock. And pungent.

Popularity: Everybody wants to be liked. It’s only human. I’ve been wanting my kids to like me since 2003. But sometimes we have to stop worrying about the opinion of others and ask ourselves, “Do I like myself?” In the end, isn’t that what really matters?

Who cares how many Facebook friends you have? (For the record, I have 5,857.) Or your number of Twitter followers (4,242). It doesn’t matter. This isn’t a competition (though good luck topping my numbers). I would rather have one close friend than 500 casual acquaintances – unless one of those acquaintances could introduce me to Scarlett Johansson, in which case, Adios, Amigo.

In the grand scheme of things, it comes down to this: Before you try to get others to love you, start by learning to love yourself. And if your life is such a mess that you simply can’t love yourself (I‘m looking at you, nephew Axel), don’t worry. Just get a dog. He’ll unconditionally love you more than your parents ever did.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2021. Edited by Betsy Jones.

Where Did My Day Go?

Where Did My Day Go?

Every day it’s the same. I start out with optimistic plans of getting everything done and feeling good about my productivity. And every day ends with me asking the same question: What happened? How did everything go so so wildly off the rails?

Every day it’s the same. I start out with optimistic plans of getting everything done and feeling good about my productivity. And every day ends with me asking the same question: What happened? How did everything go so so wildly off the rails?

When I was in my forties, I routinely worked 55-hour weeks (commuting an hour each way), taxied my kids to soccer practices and dance recitals, mowed the yard, paid the bills, and worked out five nights a week (some things are sacred). I knew exactly where my day had to go, and I made sure it went there. Missions accomplished.

But now, at 65, I feel my days slipping away. Not from some morbid fixation on death, or from my compromised knees. Rather, each day flies by and I’ve done squat. I don’t get it. I’m semi-retired, working maybe 15 hours a week. The commute to my downstairs home office averages 60 seconds – longer if there’s a pileup of cats on the stairwell. Our kids are grown and drive themselves to practices and parties. So, what’s my problem?

To help keep myself on track, I developed the following daily regimen.

6:30am: Rise, shine, shower, shave, brush teeth, dress.

7:00am: Chug protein kale shake (while holding nose).

7:30am: Power through email, deleting all junk emails requesting political campaign donations (average 298 per day). Pay bills, perhaps.

8:00am: Work. Stay focused to finish by noon. Max 15 minute break.

Noon: Join wife for quinoa and chicken. Try to eat it.

12:30pm: Intense workout on elliptical and weights to enhance 2-pack.

1:30pm: Get some fresh air on brisk two-mile walk. Try not to get lost this time.

2:30: Read a book to broaden mind, such as on Paleolithic artforms. TV verboten.

5:00: Cook healthy dinner of legumes, tilapia, salad. Try to feel full without dessert.

This is how I see my day beginning: working on my core, followed by 45 minutes on the elliptical, energizing me to work productively. The reality is that I’m lucky if I have energy to put on gym clothes before running out of steam and watching a rerun of The Office. At least I’m thinking about the office.

This is how I see my day beginning: working on my core, followed by 45 minutes on the elliptical, energizing me to work productively. The reality is that I’m lucky if I have energy to put on gym clothes before running out of steam and watching a rerun of The Office. At least I’m thinking about the office.

6:00pm: Feed cats, scoop litterbox. Tidy up house. Resist urge to shove laundry under bed.

7:00pm: Chill with cats, Buddy and Zippy. Watch intellectually stimulating film with Michele.

9:00pm: Check Facebook feed (only once daily!)

10:00pm: Brush teeth, floss, bedtime. Reflect on accomplishments of the day.

Care to guess how many times I’ve adhered to this schedule (in reality, not just in my dreams)?  Yup! Right down there with the number of successful Titanic oceanic crossings. I don’t know why, but every single solitary day I deviate widely from this plan – through no fault of my own, I’m sure. To get to the bottom of this conundrum, I decided to log each minute of my day. Surely such a study would reveal who or what keeps derailing me.

Reality (bites):

6:30am: Hit snooze button. 6:30 is an ungodly time to get up. I can barely open one eye, let alone rise and shine. Roll over. Sleep another hour.

7:30am: Shuffle downstairs in PJs. Trip over cats. Forget to shave, shower, or brush teeth. Log onto computer to check email and Facebook feed. Congratulate Norman on his 75th birthday. (Personally, I thought he would have kicked the bucket years ago.)

8:30am: Scarf bowl of Apple Jacks. Must be healthy cuz’ it has the word “apple” right in the name. Turn on CNN for latest news. Something about President Trump’s plans to prosecute every Democratic governor and mayor for treason. IOW,  another normal news day.

9:30am: Start workday (90 minutes behind schedule). Plan to make up time by punting laundry for yet another day.

9:35am: Come across YouTube video about a cat that has learned how to snowboard. Hilarious. Post it to Facebook and Instagram.

9:40am: Resume working.

9:50am: Receive SOS from neighbor to borrow pressure washer. Meet them at my garage. Engage in lively discussion about Trump’s plans to build another border wall – around the White House.

10:20am: Return to work.

10:55am: Consider shaving. Get distracted by unusual bird outside window. Ponder its species. Check bird book. Looks like a black-bellied plover or maybe a Pacific golden plover. While away 20 minutes researching the answer. Yeah, I knew it. Definitely a black-bellied plover.

11:25am: Back to work. Focus, Tim. Focus!

11:40am: Turn on Amazon Echo. “Alexa, play music by Elton John.”  Internal debate over whether the Rolling Stones would be better background music for working.

11:55am: Observe how cute Zippy looks lying in that tiny box. Decide he needs pats because he’s been such a good boy. He hasn’t peed on the carpet by my desk all morning.

Noon: Lunch. Michele’s already eaten. I’m too tired to grill chicken. Looks like it’s another PB&J lunch day. There’s protein in Skippy peanut butter, right?

12:30am: Return to my desk. Stare at computer.

12:35pm: Receive Snapchat from daughter Rachel describing her next trip abroad. Daydream about Costa Rica.

1:05: Wonder if they have Cable in Costa Rica – which reminds me – did I pay the cable bill? Check bank account. Paid!  Phew. Notice $50 charge for Wonder Waffles. What the heck?!

1:15pm: Take quick peek at Facebook. There’s a breaking WA Post story: Trump plans to purchase the Falklands and rename them the Trumplands. Think silently to self, “Perhaps he’ll move there when he loses.”

1:30pm: Take a brisk walk to mailbox. Exhausted, decide it’s time for a nap.

When in my 30’s and 40’s, I was full of energy and focused on powering efficiently through my daily To-Do list. Nowadays, it’s an accomplishment just to create a To-Do List, let alone do anything on it.

When in my 30’s and 40’s, I was full of energy and focused on powering efficiently through my daily To-Do list. Nowadays, it’s an accomplishment just to create a To-Do List, let alone do anything on it.

2:30pm:  Contemplate working out – which would require getting dressed and tying sneakers. Too much of a hassle. Maybe tomorrow.

2:35pm: Think about work. Guilt paralyzes me.

3:00pm. Call it a day. Collapse onto couch and pat Buddy. He’s feeling ignored. Nod off again.

4:00pm: Snack time. Fleeting thoughts of fresh fruit. Opt for Cookie Dough ice cream instead. Begin diet tomorrow.

4:10pm: Gaze at book on coffee table about Paleolithic artforms. Reach for remote instead. Catch the latest breaking news story from CNN: Trump has decided to replace Mike Pence as his VP with the My Pillow Guy. Think to self, “I did NOT see that coming.”

6:10pm: Catch glimpse of clock and realize I’ve been glued to CNN for two hours. A recipe for stress. Time for a dinner of comfort food. Surprise Michele with a pepperoni & sausage pizza delivery. With a large Mountain Dew.

7:00pm: Get cozy on couch with Michele, Buddy and Zippy. “Watch” action thriller flick while texting buddy Steve about Seahawks game. Apologize to wife for not being fully present with her.

9:00pm: Time for bed. Wait! Did I feed the cats? Probably not. Guess that’ll have to wait till tomorrow.

Where did my day go?

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020. Edited by Betsy Jones.

The New Rules of Texting

The New Rules of Texting

When it comes to texting, it’s a brave new world. No one under the age of 30 uses punctuation anymore. And why type in coherent sentences, when a confused face, a unicorn, and a wine glass emoji say it all?

When it comes to texting, it’s a brave new world. No one under the age of 30 uses punctuation anymore. And why type in coherent sentences, when a confused face, a unicorn, and a wine glass emoji say it all?

I feel bad. Earlier today, I did something very hurtful – and to my own daughter, no less. I sent her a terribly insensitive text. What was the hostile, insulting thing I wrote? “Hope you’re doing well. Would love to see you sometime soon.”

I feel sick about what I’ve done. As my daughter explained it, I was bullying her and being demanding – both clearly conveyed by my use of a period at the end of each sentence. You read correctly. The  period(.) also telegraphed anger and that I wished to end this text exchange.

How rude of me! After all, my daughter has a lot on her plate with work and grad school. After apologizing profusely and asking if she could ever find it in her heart to forgive me for my heartless affront, I asked her to enlighten me about any other texting rules that perhaps I had been routinely violating without knowing it.

Oh, I’m aware of a few do’s and don’ts. I know you shouldn’t type out novels (but I do it anyway – partly just to annoy my kids). I also learned that the use of ALL CAPS is considered SHOUTING and is frowned upon. BUT I DON’T CARE!! That said, after my daughter stopped reading my 200-word soliloquy about all the things I’m grateful for as her dad, she texted back: TEXTING PROTOCOLS HAVE EVOLVED DAD  GET WITH THE PROGRAM

According to my daughter, and the newly abridged millennial version of Elements of Style, when it comes to texting etiquette, I’m stuck in the Pleistocene Era. Who knew that nowadays it’s “bad form” to use any punctuation when texting? Here I thought I was with the times texting my kids rather than telephoning, when actually I’ve been driving them crazy with my constant barrage of commas, apostrophes, and in-your-face use of question marks.

Apparently, not only is a period interpreted as a command, but also as a blow off. And exclamation marks?! Tread carefully there. Did you know that using a single exclamation mark means you’re being sarcastic? Me neither! I mean me neither. However, two exclamation marks is fine. But stop at two. Because three !!!’s is over-the-top irritating. It means you’re being a drama queen, so take it down a notch, sister!!

The use of capital letters is also something to avoid at all costs, especially if the word is normally meant to be capitalized. Never text “New York” when “new york” (or better still, “ny”) will suffice. Evidently, proper grammar and syntax are indicators you’re a total nerd who is just not woke enough for today’s under-30 crowd.

Let me give an example. Normally, I might be inclined to text my daughter, “Hi, Rachel. Did you have a good day at work? I can’t wait to see you when you come to Camano Island. Call me soon, if you have a chance, okay? Love you!” First of all, the period clearly showed I was ordering her to come home. Then the derisive single exclamation mark made a mockery of my love for her. And all those capitals!! The correctly written text would have looked like this: “hi rachel did you have a good day at work i cant wait to see you when you come to camano island call me soon if you have a chance okay love you”

Better still, eliminate all those time-wasting vowels: “hi rchl dd u hv a gd dy at wrk cnt wt 2 c u whn u cme 2 cmn islnd cll me sn k lv u”

That’s better. But if you really want to be respectful of your kids’ communication preferences, you should eliminate those pesky adjectives, adverbs, and nouns – young people can’t be bothered to read complete thoughts. That’s so 1990’s. They are way too busy checking out Instagram or Tinder to wade through your meandering message.

Young people today are extremely busy. They don’t have time to make eye contact, let alone call their parents. If you really need to get their attention, send a text – but keep it to under eight words, please. They don’t have all day.

Young people today are extremely busy. They don’t have time to make eye contact, let alone call their parents. If you really need to get their attention, send a text – but keep it to under eight words, please. They don’t have all day.

Technically, if you truly want to adhere to the official guidelines of texting civility in this brave new world we live in, bail on the notion of sending your child a text in the first place. After all, you texted her a mere two weeks ago. Back off!! You’re starting to crowd her, dude.

In summary, when texting one of your under-age-30 offspring, remember these helpful DON’T’s:

DON’T drone on and on. Get to the point.

DON’T SHOUT at them with angry periods and in-your-face ALL CAPS.

Wherever possible, DON’T use words when texting. I’m sure there’s a four-emoji chain that can clearly communicate, “I won’t be able to make it to your place before 7pm because I’m stuck in traffic, so could you order us a veggie pizza?”

DON’T expect them to spellcheck their texts. So what if your college graduate’s text auto-corrected to change “I’m putting up my prius for sale” to “I’m putting up my penis for sale.” You should know what he meant.

DON’T text your kids too frequently. Once a month seems slightly excessive but within the margins of millennial social norms.

DON’T force them to wade through yet another adjective-laden tome about your recent home remodeling project. They won’t be spending any time at home when they come to visit you at Christmas anyway, so why are you telling them this stuff?

Most important of all, DON’T expect a reply – EVER. Your kids have far more important things to do than to keep in touch with their parents.

Be patient. Just wait till they turn forty and have self-absorbed teenagers of their own. Then they’ll be texting you night and day (begging for your parenting advice). And their kids will mock them as so passé. After all, fifteen years from now, who’d be caught texting? That’s so 2020.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

Subscribe to my new View from the Bleachers YouTube Channel and request notifications to see my latest videos.

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020. Edited by Betsy Jones.

A Matter of Time

A Matter of Time

Once upon a time, a long time ago, while I was watching prime time TV, I started thinking about the notion of time. I had some spare time, and it was Teatime, so I grabbed some Earl Grey, set the timer, and pondered. Then I fell asleep. When I woke up from my naptime, it occurred to me that life is a race against time.

My dad’s mantra was, “Time is money.”  He was constantly pressed for time to get the job done, always finishing in the nick of time. He never took nearly enough time off. He’d often give me a hard time about my not being on time, and as a result I’d end up with a timeout. On the other hand, my mom used to tell me, “Just bide your time, and everything will be okay.” Not sure what her point was. Maybe in time it will make sense.

I remember the time I was watching a thrilling football playoff game. It went into overtime. My team almost won, but they ran out of timeouts. I’d tell you the rest of that story, but I don’t want to waste your time.

The time was when we didn’t obsess so much about time. Now, we’re all so dang time-starved. People are too busy keeping up with the times to give you the time of day. Your boss screams at you, “This is not the time to be texting! You’re on company time.” I dread switching over to Daylight Savings Time because that’s another hour I’ve lost in my life. You may say I’m behind the times, but I think we all need to take more time to stop and smell the roses – or do the New York Times crossword puzzle. I know that when the time is ripe, I’ll make the Big Time. Or not. Only time will tell. But in the meantime, it’s time to slow down.

Ask yourself: Are you just a Good Time Charlie, or are you going to make something of your time on earth while there’s still time? Remember what the great Roman philosopher Cicero once said: “Tempus fugit.” (Time flies.)  I know this big-time operator who swindled investors on fake Rolex time pieces. He’s now serving time in the Big House. So, use your precious time wisely, or in no time flat, you could be doing hard time, too. At least then you’d have plenty of time on your hands to catch up on your to-do list.

One time, I was at the right place at the wrong time. I suspect God has a devil of a time dealing with Satan. Don’t appreciate the previous two time jokes? Well, perhaps third time’s a charm. But I digress.

The time has come for me to conclude my meanderings about the fleeting nature of time, while time is on my side. What I’m trying to say is, don’t let time slip through your fingers. Right now could be the time of your life – unless you’re stuck in a time warp or happen to be my buddy Fred. He’s going through a rough time, thanks to his two-timing wife. And I thought for sure his marriage would stand the test of time. He’s hurting big time right now.

It’s high time we take a look at our lives and make time for what’s really important, like spending quality time with friends and family. I wish I could just buy more time to be with them. Maybe that’s what timeshares are all about. But time waits for no one, and we cannot always make up for lost time.

Since time immemorial, we’ve known that our time-sensitive lives aren’t frozen in time. Life keeps ticking, like a time bomb. In next to no time, “boom!” There’s no time left on the clock. So don’t just kill time. Facetime the faraway people you love. Because, let’s face it, we’re all living on borrowed time.

For the time being, my advice is to take it one step at a time. I hope you’ve found this article timely. I completed it right on time. Not sure it’s one of my best of all time. If not, I’ll try to do better next time.

Wow, in writing this, I’ve totally lost track of time. I guess what they say is right: Time flies when you’re having fun. Look at the time! It’s Miller Time. Time to call it a day. But I’ll be back in no time with another time-tested commentary – unless God tells me my time’s up.

PS: Here’s a fun fact. My first name is Tim. And my middle initial is E. So, even my name is all about TimE.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

PS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook.

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© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2020

Stressed Out Meditation

Stressed Out Meditation

Life is stressful. So, I recently purchased a meditation CD. But I’m not sure it’s helping. Take a listen and tell me what you think.

For most of us, life is getting more complicated, faster-paced, and more stressful than ever. My suggestion: Slow down. Breathe in. And listen to a meditation CD. Just not the one that I recently bought.

For most of us, life is getting more complicated, faster-paced, and more stressful than ever. My suggestion: Slow down. Breathe in. And listen to a meditation CD. Just not the one that I recently bought.

Welcome to this audio relaxation program. Over the next 20 minutes, you will learn how to block out the worries and cares in your life. You will walk away feeling calm, with a renewed energy. Let’s begin. Take off your shoes and sit in a comfortable position. Close your eyes.

Now, take a deep breath in through your nose. As you do, notice how it feels a bit harder to breathe deeply than it used to. That may be because of your recent weight gain. Breathe out – through your mouth.

Let all the stress empty out of your body. Remind yourself that there is no point worrying about being woefully behind in your sales quota. Let it go. With just two weeks left in the quarter, you’ll never make it. Breathe in.

Begin to notice how the muscles in your shoulders and neck seem extremely tight. To release the tension, relax each muscle group. Flex your fingers and toes. Let them go completely limp. As you do this, clear your mind of anything that is weighing on you, especially this morning’s news that your son is flunking Algebra and English – and just about everything. Looks like he’ll be re-taking 9th grade. Breathe out.

Slowly raise your arms and legs, flexing each limb and then relaxing. Let all the stress flow out of your limbs, much like your retirement fund is flowing down the river after paying for the new roof that leaked after the storm of the century. It’s only money. You can’t take it with you. Breathe in.

Continue your progressive muscle relaxation and move to your core. Notice how tight your stomach is starting to feel. This is natural when visualizing your wife’s rage that you spent $800 on golf clubs instead of patching the roof before the rainstorm as she told you to do. Breathe out. Begin to visualize a happy place – far away from your wife. Perhaps a spring meadow filled with tulips and daffodils. Isn’t it beautiful? Now imagine how you will actually get to this peaceful meadow, given that your car’s engine is making that unsettling grinding noise. It could mean your transmission is about to go. Probably not. Forget I even mentioned it. Breathe in.

When you’re feeling stressed, think about your pet, Bongo. He never worries about ANYTHING. Try to be more like him. Don’t give a second thought to the priceless bedroom carpet he chewed to pieces last weekend. You wanted it replaced anyway, right? You’re a good dog, Bongo. Yes, you are!

When you’re feeling stressed, think about your pet, Bongo. He never worries about ANYTHING. Try to be more like him. Don’t give a second thought to the priceless bedroom carpet he chewed to pieces last weekend. You wanted it replaced anyway, right? You’re a good dog, Bongo. Yes, you are!

Lie down on the floor. Give your arms and legs a good, long stretch. Let’s try another visualization. Imagine you’re on a sailboat that is taking you away to a tropical paradise. Feel the soft, warm spray of sea water on your face. Banish those recurring thoughts of the leaking roof you have to replace. And the $12,000 cost.  Breathe out.

Picture an idyllic Caribbean island coming into view. Now imagine pulling up your sailboat on a white, sandy beach surrounded by palm trees gently swaying in the breeze. You are greeted by a throng of people, welcoming you to your own island paradise. Notice how familiar they look, all bearing an eerie resemblance to your company’s Board of Directors, to whom you will present your disappointing quarterly sales numbers in 45 minutes. Breathe in.

Now it’s time to return to your day. Begin to open your eyes slowly. By now you are feeling relaxed and rejuvenated – ready to face the world with a new sense of calm and serenity. Oh look. There’s an envelope on your desk. It appears to be from your credit card company. A bill for $8,400, which is roughly $8,300 more than you have in your checking account. Breathe out.

Notice how your heart is starting to pound more quickly. Become aware of the profuse sweat streaming down your brow. By now you may experience your stomach tying up in knots. This is perfectly normal. Just lie back down on the floor. Keep breathing. Curl up in the fetal position and contemplate that you have lost all concept of time. In fact, based on my calculations, there is no way you’ll ever make it back to the office in time for your sales presentation before the Board of Directors, which starts in 30 minutes. Thanks to the jackknifed 18-wheeler blocking three lanes of traffic on the interstate, you have a handy excuse.

And breathe out. This concludes this session of your meditation relaxation CD. Have a carefree day.

That’s the view from the bleachers. Perhaps I’m off base.

Tim Jones - Profile at Safeco - TinyPS: If you enjoyed this week’s post, let me know by posting a comment, giving it a Like or sharing this post on Facebook. 

© Tim Jones, View from the Bleachers 2015. Edited by Betsy Jones.