Thinking Out Loud

Get Ready for the Unexpected

In Leo Tolstoy’s work, Three Questions, the King is fed up with the poor advice of his advisors. Instead, he seeks the advice of a wise hermit.  “The King went up to him and said: “I have come to you, wise hermit, to ask you to answer three questions: How can I learn to do the right thing at the right time? Who are the people I most need, and to whom should I, therefore, pay more attention than to the rest? And, what affairs are the most important, and need my first attention?”

NOTE: When you’ve had an important decision to make have you sought the advice of friends and  family and come away still not knowing what to do? I have. What do you do when that happens? I recall having this experience early on in my career. I was offered a great job. I knew if I took it my career path was set. I wasn’t quite certain that was the path to take. I turned to a trusted mentor. I went to his office and explained the job offer to him. He smiled at me and said, “Ray, I consult with people in that position all the time and they have one thing in common.” I moved to the edge of my chair waiting for his words of wisdom. I said, “What?” He said, “They don’t smile.” I laughed and said, “You’re right. In that moment, his wisdom, simply stated, influenced me. I went to my office and made the call declining the job. Sometimes it’s better to seek wisdom from those detached from us. When we do, we’d better be ready to hear something totally unexpected.


What If . . .

What if I quit settling for less than what I deserve? I was fortunate early on in my career a mentor took me aside and gave me sage advice. He said it a bit differently, but his meaning was clear. He said never settle for less than what you’re worth. I followed his advice. I was criticized by friends for being foolish and turning down job offers. I turned them down because I followed my mentor’s advice. Patience always paid off. Never settle for less than what you’re worth. You’ll feel good about yourself. And, others will respect you. 

Today’s Good Word ~ Face It

Early in my career I had a mentor who told me that I would find myself in situations where fear was knocking on my door. My mentor, tongue in cheek, said, “where loose fitting pants so they can’t see your legs shaking.” Then he added, “whatever you do, face it. Don’t turn your back on it because it will show up with a different disguise. Face it early, don’t let them see your legs shaking.” He was right, I faced a number of situations where fear knocked on my door. I also followed his advice and faced it. It made all the difference. 

Today’s Quote ~ Be Who You’re Supposed to Be

“When I was a child my mother said to me, ‘If you become a soldier, you’ll be a general. If you become a monk, you’ll be the pope.’ Instead I became a painter and wound up as Picasso.” ~ Pablo Picasso

Three Weeks of Unwashed Laundry

Farlo sat at the clean kitchen table. Not exactly a kitchen table, it was a card table Joey picked out of a dumpster. Joey sat across from him. Tina lied on the floor next to Farlo’s feet.

“What’d you think? My house looks awesome,” said Joey beaming with pride.

“If I told you what I think, I’d hurt your feelings. So, I’ll sugar coat it because you are a baby in the world of grownups,” said Farlo.

“You’re negative. Can’t you say anything nice?” asked Joey.

“You want positive, I’ll give you positive. You took the trash off the floor. The carried the trash out to the trash can. You washed the dishes, dried them and put them away. Now, reality. The floor has more stains than a Chinese restaurant with a D rating from the board of health. You have three weeks of unwashed clothes in your closet. Don’t think I didn’t find them hiding behind four crates filled with empty beer cans. When was the last time you bought a toothbrush? Need I go on?”

“So? It’s my house and I’m happy with it. You know where the door is,” said Joey.

“Gig, poor attitude. You’re up to four gigs. One more and you’re grounded. Right now, you’re on level four correction,” said Farlo.

“What’s level four?” said Joey.

“I’m holding your cell phone for two weeks,” said Farlo matter-of-factly.

“I am not a child. You don’t give it to me, I’ll call the police,” said Joey.

“With what? I have your cell phone,” said Farlo.

“Who are you? Why are you here? Who sent you? What can I do to make you leave me alone?” said Joey.

Farlo looked down at Tina, patted her on the head, then he looked back up at Joey, “You look disgusting. You smell disgusting. You’re fifteen pounds overweight. You’re soft. I’m giving you a pass on your appearance today. Tomorrow morning you’ll stand inspection. Who am I? I’m your best friend, only you don’t know it. Why am I here? The boss said you’d be a tough case, but he thinks you’re worth it. He’s got a job for you to do. Me? I’m your mentor, best friend, life line, or drill instructor, I’m getting you ready. Who sent me? Filo. And, there’s nothing you can do to make me leave.”

“Who’s Filo?”

“I’ll tell you if you agree to a lobotomy. No answer? Get cleaned up. That’s means shave, shower, and put on clean clothes. We’re going out to dinner.

“I want delivery pizza,” said Joey.

“Pizza’s off the menu until further notice,” said Farlo.

“Does that include elephant ears, fried dough, and hotdogs?”

Farlo gave Joey a what do you think look.

Noooooooooo,” screamed Joey.

Tina growled.

Will Farlo straighten out Joey? Who is Filo? Come back tomorrow and see where this is going.

Catch & Release

“La Flor, do you think it’s wise for you to mentor Carmela? One of you is about all the alt ego world can handle,” I said.

“Ray, if all the people in the world were like me, the world would be a better place. I’m doing my part to make that happen. Do you think I’ll win a Noble Prize (yes, she said Noble instead of Nobel – I’m only writing what I hear).

“I’m sure it is Nobel not Noble. You know the difference, right?”

“Of course I know the difference. Nobel means no bells. Noble is the thing I should win,” said an adamant La Flor.

“Looks like you got it figured out,” I said.

“Move over, Ray, my protege is here.”

“A minny me? I asked.

“No, she is not a minny you. You don’t have the right stuff that Carmela is looking for, Ray,” said La Flor.

“What is the right stuff? I thought I was pretty good,” I said.

“Three words, Ray. And, you don’t qualify.”‘

“I hear an inner voice repeating them to me,” I said.

“Let me help your inner voice. Beautiful, tough, edgy. They’re so far removed from you, you can’t see them with the Bubble telescope.”

“Do you mean Hubble?” I said.

“Don’t change the subject,” she said. Then added, “Girlfriend come over. I’ve straightened Ray out.”

“Hey, my posture’s good. I don’t need a chiropractor,” I said.

“Oh La Flor, you are the master. You weren’t even breathing hard when you put Ray in his place.”

“You are so smart but not as smart as me, Carmela. Now, I want you to flirt with TT, then let him down.”

I stepped in. TT never hurt anyone. Let’s not play with his emotions,” I said.

“Ray, beautiful, tough, and edgy rules, it’s called catch and release.”

“Just like the fishing places?” I said.





You Call This Mentoring?

La Flor and Carmela sit on the deck overlooking the large pool and tennis court at Big Carmen’s 6000 square foot home. Big Carmen can’t swim or play tennis, but the guy who donated the home to him did. A bottle of white wine is on the table between La Flor and Carmela. Their glasses partially filled.

“I’m the luckiest girl in the world to have you as my mentor La Flor. I want to be just like you.”

“We’ll have to work on your makeup, clothes, voice, walk, diet, and attitude. In short, Carmela, you need a total makeover and your mentor is going to point the way,” said La Flor.

Little Carmen lays in a lounge chair off to the side. He perks up when he hears La Flor’s voice. La Flor’s voice. He called over, “Who’s mental? Use guys needs some help?”

La Flor glanced at him, then bent closer to Carmela, “Lesson one, sometimes you have to overlook certain weakness because he’s just so handsome.” Then she sat back and looked at Little Carmen, “We’re okay, play with your iPad.”

“I’m hear (that’s what he said) if use needs me.”

Carmela gets out of her seat, goes around the table and hugs La Flor. Tears are streaming down her face, “You are so kind, so generous, so everything good, and can I add so wise with men.”

“I know. I know. Now let go of me. I don’t want your mascara ending up on my shirt. I spent an hour getting my makeup right. I hope you didn’t smudge it with the hug. Ask permission next time before you hug me. I usually take hugs by appointment. Not on weekends or Tuesdays, they are my rest days,” said La Flor.

“I’m sorry,” said Carmela.

“Since it’s your first day being mentored, I’ll let it slide,” said La Flor.

“Can I hug you again, you are the kindest person I know,” said Carmela.

“No, it’s Tuesday. But, you can tell all your friends on social media how good I am to you. Pay attention to what I do now,” said La Flor.

“Should I take notes?” said Carmela.

“Good idea because I give pop quizzes.”

Carmela takes out her iPhone, presses the Notes app and waits for La Flor.

“LC. LC.”

“Yes, beautiful, tough, and edgy mentor,” said Little Carmen.

“Nothing. I wanted to make sure you’re paying attention to cater to my every whim.”

“Like cheese on sauce, red on tomatoes, green on oregano, pepperoni on Camen’s Pizzeria Saturday night special for five ninety-one and free delivery.”

“Tomorrow we’ll kick it up a notch.”

“I can’t wait.”


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