An Idea Whose Time May Never Come: Education & Training Requirements for Candidates for Public Office

  I enjoy going back over the many insightful, often humorous responses to my essays. For example, in response to my essay on “A Trillion Here, A Trillion There…”a friend wrote, “We have more qualifications for people applying to McDonalds than for our national leaders.” That comment got me thinking, and I wrote what follows several weeks ago but just had not had time to publish it. However, in skimming USA Today this morning, on the front page there appeared a small table with the results of an “Ipsos poll” from May 4 – 5, which reminded me it was time to publish this piece. Here’s why. The survey question was “How many Americans say these professions are trustworthy?” Firefighters                                                                       80% Paramedics/EMS                                                             76 Health Care Workers                                                      75 Teachers                                                                        

Recognizing the Emotional Content in Everyday Relationships

  Recognizing The Emotional Content in Everyday Relationships   Recently, if someone had asked me the throwaway question, “so how’s your day going?”, my likely (superficial) response would have been something like, “just fine, thanks”. Most anyone asking this bland question is being polite and trying to make a social connection, neither expecting nor wanting to hear your story.   However, the truth is that as I reflect on my relatively “typical” days I realize they can be loaded with important and meaningful relationships, each with emotional content deserving recognition and appreciation. Collectively, these “touches” can amount to a surprisingly broad gamut of feelings and experiences, as they did for me when I originally drafted this essay, which was on May 18, when I wrote about the previous day. After a couple of weeks of editing it several times I now offer these thoughts to you. There were highs …May 17 was a day crowded with positive, constructive relationships like the o

Initial Responses to "Avocations Becoming Obligations" Essay

  Initial Responses to “Avocations Becoming Obligations” Essay  (Please note that in July these posts will no longer automatically be mailed to followers.  What I suggest, if you are interested in reading future posts as they are published, is that you send me your email address with a brief note requesting inclusion on my personal mailing list.  Every time I prepare material for this blog I first email it to a list numbering about 375 recipients at this point.  My email address is  Note also that my last name is spelled with an "ie", not "ei".  Far too many people still type my email address incorrectly.  Mark J. Riedy) Seven friends responded quickly to the "Avocations…Obligations" essay, and more will follow soon if history is any guide. I love the range of responses, from the ridiculous (“In San Diego I’ve offered to shovel the snow from neighbors’ driveways for 40 years, with no takers.”) to the sublime (“I felt the Pandemic g

Being Sensitive to Avocations Becoming Obligations

  Being Sensitive to Avocations Becoming Obligations   I’ve observed an interesting phenomenon among friends and neighbors who, either through a repetitive helping hand or the pursuit of various avocations, provide benefits to others. Over time those who benefit from their friend’s or neighbor’s good deeds occasionally may begin to take them for granted and come to view the actions less as the gifts they were intended to be and more as ongoing duties or obligations. The shift from avocation to obligation is a subtle, morphing process. It’s almost as if a behavioral statute of limitations exists to assure that no good deed goes unpunished. I can think of at least six examples of this phenomenon. If you have observed it in other areas I hope you will share them with me. Also, especially if you are the beneficiary of someone else’s good deeds on a regular basis, you might want to examine your feelings about their help as an obligation on their part and think of ways to let them off

What's the Hurry?

  What’s the Hurry? Note to readers: I was unsure whether or not to publish this essay because it focused so heavily upon automobiles and speed, when the topic of hurrying is so much broader than streets and highways. Then, about two weeks ago, a 70 year old man was killed by a hit and run driver on Del Mar Heights Road, about two blocks from our home. Del Mar Heights Road is a four-lane city street with a posted speed limit of 40 mph.  Drivers think nothing of 50-60 mph on the stretch from I-5 toward the ocean, which is where the hit and run occurred. I recognize being "in a hurry" and being a "hit and run" driver are like oil and water as topics, but the crime still bothers me so I decided to post these thoughts after all.   Despite our reputations for being “laid back”, most everyone in California seems to be in a great hurry scurrying to and fro, emphasizing quantity over quality and quickness over thoroughness.   We want to move quickly to finish whatever w

Sometimes I Think I Listen Best With My Eyes

  Maybe I've just got too much pandemic-induced free time on my hands.  Seemingly out of nowhere, at dinner last evening I asked my wife if she listened better by hearing something or reading it.  After taking my temperature, pulse and blood pressure readings and asking if I was having a mini-stroke, which I was not, she asked what was going on in my mind.  To which I responded, actually sometimes I think I listen best with my eyes. At the most basic human level, of course, we all listen/learn/understand/ comprehend the world about us through our five senses: sight, taste, touch, smell and hearing.  I am not talking about tasting, smelling or touching, which while important are of much more limited scope than sight and hearing in terms of interpersonal communication and relationships or understanding the meaning of information being conveyed among and between human beings. Who cares? I care, not because I can write about it but rather because it is important to me to understand how

How Can I Be a Better Boss...Husband...Wife...Listener...Friend? (Living Up to One's Full Potential)

  How Can I Be a Better Boss…Husband…Wife…Listener…Friend? (Living Up to One’s Full Potential) One of my favorite memories of a dear friend who died last year was the story he told about an experience he had in high school.   It was a Catholic school, Jesuit-run, as I recall. While my friend was sitting quietly at his desk waiting for class to begin, the priest came up behind him, a big book in hand.   Without warning the priest sent my friend sprawling onto the floor with a mighty, unprovoked blow to the side of his head. Whump!   After a short blackout he woke to find the priest standing over him, saying “When you pull yourself together come see me in my office after class.” And so he did. Asking why the priest had hit him, the direct answer was “I was trying to knock some sense into your head. You are not living up to your potential. ” I asked if the priest had been right. “Yes, he was, and it worked. He changed my life.” In 2021 the priest’s approach would cost him his job