Sunday Stealing: Compassion Intl

The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough

This Sunday Stealing segment is from Compassion Intl.

1. What three words best describe you?

Overanalytical, observational, musicality.

2. What makes you unique?

We’re all unique, I reckon. I tend to see how others, even strangers,  have to deal with a situation, and I look to see if there’s a non-intrusive but uncomplicated way to make it easier/better.

3. Who is someone important in your life?

Someone? There are lots of someones. I’ll pick C, whom I’ve only known for about 55 years and who has a good heart. They commented on this blog recently. 

4. What is something that always makes you laugh?

I almost always forget what makes me laugh. Then I read, watch, or listen to it again and fall on the ground, chortling. Often, it’s a silly mistake I made. I track my food consumption on Noom, and at the end of the day this week, I accidentally wrote that I had consumed one CUP rather than one TEASPOON of brown sugar! 

5. Who is someone who can always cheer you up?

The Big O, who I hope to see in a month. She’s bringing lasagna.

6. When was a time you were really proud of yourself?

Pride is not really my strength. Almost anything I’ve done, I often think I could have done more and/or better. But I’ll pick the 4th of July event at the Underground Railroad Education Center in 2023.

7. What is something that is difficult for you?

Do you know those people who can take a bunch of containers and lids and match them up easily? My wife is like that. I assuredly am NOT.

Traveling man

8. What three places would you love to travel to?

Only three? Ireland, Nigeria, and Italy. The first two are places where I have genealogical roots.

9. What is a fun memory you have with your best friend?

I think it was my 35th high school reunion. The event was okay, but seeing them was grand.

10. If you could have dessert for breakfast, what would you eat?

What makes you think I don’t? Warm apple pie with vanilla ice cream.

11. If you published a book or wrote a movie, what would it be about?

My father. He was a complicated man.

12. Which is easier, math or English?

My wife was a teacher of English as a New Language. As a native speaker, I’m pretty good at English, but it can be difficult for others. There are rules for adjective order, which I could not tell you about, even though I wrote about it a decade ago. I just know it by experience. Dr. Seuss’s book The Tough Coughs as He Ploughs the Dough is a fine example of how complicated English is.

Arithmetic always made sense to me. In high school, I was good in algebra, geometry, and trigonometry, and I occasionally still use them in my life. Now, calculus, I didn’t “get it,” but I’ve survived that lapse.

13. What three things make you the happiest?

Music (listening, singing), revelatory conversations, when democracy works.

Ridin’ thumb

14. What is an event in your life that has shaped who you are today?

An event. Hmm. Okay. After I graduated from college in New Paltz, NY, I worked as a ticket seller for the student government. But I wasn’t making enough to survive. So reluctantly, I asked my parents, who had moved from my hometown of Binghamton, NY, to Charlotte, NC, and I moved in with them and my baby sister c. January 1977.

I hated being there for a lot of reasons. My parents were selling costume jewelry, so I spent much time helping them. At their primary venue, most people who bothered to speak to me seemed to resent every time I’d use a word with more than two syllables.

So, one day in April, I hitchhiked from Charlotte to Binghamton. It took me nearly an entire day. After that, I bounced around to NYC, New Paltz, and Schenectady, but at least I knew the turf. And 1978 was MUCH better than 1977.

15. Which is more important, being kind or being honest?

EASY! Kindness. Some people weaponize honesty. They can say, “I was only being honest, ” but they seem to relish being an @$$4013. BTW, CBS News has an ongoing series called Kindness 101. Here’s one video about the Secret Santa Club.

“A Phoenix elementary school teacher who uses Steve Hartman’s inspirational stories as lessons in kindness and character made a huge impression on his students with the tale of Secret Santa, a wealthy, anonymous businessman who annually gives out hundreds of $100 bills to strangers. That motivated the kids to raise $8,000 – and then give it all away.”

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