Grow Old Along with Me

We think of growing old and we think of aged people, old people, retired people, elderly people, nursing home people and dying people.  When we think of growing old, we don’t think of babies, teenagers, young people and college students.  Ironic in a way, since everyone from birth to death is growing old or is at least growing older.  Perhaps that is the difference.  Growing old seems to Imagemean aged.  Growing older is a process while growing old denotes a physical condition.    Old means droopy skin, failing health, difficulty walking and a general decline in one’s ability to be mobile.  To some, old is a state of being or as others would say a state of mind.  Call old what you will, but none can deny the physical deterioration that comes with growing older.

In the Velveteen Rabbit, as the stuffed toy rabbit grows older, he becomes more and more worn and raggedy.  Despite his aging, the rabbit becomes more and more loved by the boy who has become his constant companion through the years.  The love of the boy eventually makes the ImageVelveteen Rabbit “real.”  Regardless of the rabbit’s becoming threadbare, torn and disfigured, the Velveteen Rabbit gains a persona that can only be understood by someone who values longevity, companionship and friendship.

Of course, we all value companionship and longevity; many people in our lives are like the Velveteen Rabbit.  Our sisters and brothers, our grandfathers and grandmothers, our mothers and fathers and our good friends and spouses; will all become older and older and older.  Eventually, they all become aged, misshapen, wrinkled and decrepit.  But if they have been good companions through the years, we are blind to their aging process.  We only see the love and caring that they have shown us.  We are blind to their difficulty with hearing and their inability to keep up with us.  We only see the person who was kind and thoughtful to us.  We are blind to their infirmaries and disabilities.  We only see the person who took care of us and helped us in our time of need.

I sometimes look at my spouse Karen who has put on pounds and wrinkles and walks slower than she used to.  Over the years, she has become more and more beautiful.  Looking back, I am not sure Karen was real to me when we were first dating and even married.  It has taken nearly 30 years of togetherness for Imageme to more fully appreciate the person that she is and it is still a process that is evolving.  The commitments that she makes to others often go beyond my understanding.   The kindness and compassion that she shows to those who are in need is more than touching.  The many ways she sacrifices what she wants so that she can help me get what I want have all made Karen real to me.

One of the saddest things, you hear at funerals, is the comment “I wish I had spent more time with them.”   It is probably inevitable that we feel this way.  Having pondered this comment over many wakes and funerals, I wonder if more time would really have made a difference.  I rather think it would be the “quality” of time we spent with others.  You may think that I am simply citing a cliché “quality of time?”  What is this elusive quality of time?  Some examples from my own life with Karen illustrate this concept for me.  Perhaps for you it will be different:

  • Sharing meals together
  • Going to hospital visits together
  • Sharing back rubs and massages
  • Reading together
  • Traveling together
  • Shopping together
  • Spending quiet time together
  • Being concerned with each other’s work
  • Helping each other whenever we can
  • Checking in each day to see how the other is doing
  • Always hugging and greeting each other when going or coming
  • Taking care of each other when sick

My list might seem trivial to you.  Your list might be very different.  Nevertheless, what if we spent the time with our loved ones that enabled all of us to say when they are no longer with us that:  “I am glad I spent the time with them that I did.”   Is the time we spend watching TV or football or golfing, or fishing so precious that we could not have spent a little more time growing older with our loved ones?


We are inundated with emails, text messages, advertisements, news, news and more news.  Our minds and brains are saturated with people beseeching us to buy, sell, rent, borrow, donate, loan or vote.  The rest of our time, we are numbed by media depictions of trivia, deprivations and horror.   We are fascinated by Hollywood, Bollywood and royalty.  For many of us, Princess Kate is more real than our own brother or sister.

When Princess Diana was killed, I remember seeing a co-worker who had a shrine in her cubicle for the Princess.   Princess Diana was one of the most popular people in the world.  She was real for many because they lived her life with her.  Recent polls show ImagePrincess Kate is now as popular as Diana once was.  The media is making Kate real for us just as it once did for Diana.  The sad part of this is not that we identify with and make these people real, it is that we fail to make the truly important people in our lives real.  How much do you know about the lives, wishes, hopes, dreams and fears of the really important people in your life?  Do you get as much news about and with them as you get about Princess Kate?

GROW old along with me!   (From Rabbi Ben Ezra by Robert Browning)

The best is yet to be,

The last of life, for which the first was made:        

Our times are in His hand    

Who saith ‘A whole I planned,                 

Youth shows but half; trust God: see all, nor be afraid!’

I think we fail to teach our children the value of time.  We teach the value of money, but we neglect to teach the value of time.  It might be argued that money and time are valued according to their scarcity.  To the young, time is plentiful and money is scarce.  To the old, time is scarce and money is (if not plentiful) at least often more abundant.  If this argument is correct, then it would be a waste of time trying to teach the value of either time or money.  Their value is fixed according to age.  I disagree with this argument.

ImageI think if you look closely, many older people have never valued time as much as they still value money.  And many young people fully understand the value of time and would readily put it over the lure of more and more money.  If this is so, then it suggests that the value of each is not fixed by age but by some mental process perhaps not fully understood.  If a mental concept or construct is at work here, it can be modified or changed by reason and logic.   I may be justified in thinking that young children need to be told that time is valuable and that in many cases it is not fungible.  You can never replace or substitute money or goods for the time that you did not spend with your family, friends or loved ones.

Time has every right to be as respected a discipline as the study of money.  In capitalism, money becomes King, money is good. We pervert nature by upending the true value of things. Tangibles become more important than intangibles.  Goods become more important than services.  Greed becomes more important than charity.  Youth becomes more important than experience.

Aristotle was right in his use of the Golden Mean concept to show how to create a balance that was harmonious with the world.  ImageAnything taken to extremes becomes evil or distorted.  Time and money are the pivots upon which the world rotates.  They must be kept in harmony.  We have lost our balance though and let money become the sacred source of happiness and success.  Perhaps the really wealthy people are the ones with more time.  Why wait until retirement to become truly wealthy?

Time for Questions:

Do you have a balance in your life between time and money?  Do you keep the really important things in your life in proper perspective?  Do you value time as much as you value money?  Do you think we need to do more to help have a balance in our country?  Are you willing to share your time with others?  How about your money?

Life is just beginning. 



It’s Coming Quick. It’s Coming Quick, the End is Coming Quick. 

ImageWinnie-the-Pooh was walking home one day when he passed a young man standing on a park bench.  The young man was shouting “Quick, it’s coming quick, it’s coming quick, the end is coming quick.”  This greatly distressed the Pooh bear who ran home as fast as his bear legs could carry him. After arriving home, he made a big honey and jelly sandwich on toast.  He had been saving this honey for a special occasion but since the end was coming quick, he decided he had better eat it as soon as he was able to.  After this, Pooh straightened up his abode and waited.  Pooh thought he might as well wait for the end to happen while he was home and warm and comfortable and feeling very nourished after his honey and jelly on toast sandwich.

ImageBut you know Pooh bears, they are not very patient.  Soon, Winnie-the-Pooh became restless and started wondering when the end was coming.  He began pacing back and forth and forth and back but the end still did not come.  Finally, losing patience, Pooh decided to visit his good friend Eeyore to see if he had any news on the end.  After a short trek over to where Eeyore lived in his house made of sticks. The two good friends met and embraced each other.  Quickly, Eeyore started worrying and wondering what was going to happen. If Pooh bear came to see him, something must be wrong.  Eeyore finally blurted out “Pooh, what is up, what is happening, why are you here?”  Pooh knew that Eeyore was easily unsettled but he felt that this situation warranted unsettling poor Eeyore.  Pooh said “Eeyore, the end is coming quick.”  “Oh my, oh my” said Eeyore, “That is a problem.  What do you think we should do?”  Pooh replied well “Do you have any honey or jelly?  We could make some honey and jelly sandwiches and wait for the end.”  Eeyore was not as fond of honey and jelly sandwiches but he had some good hay and aged straw that he had been saving and he invited Pooh to share it with him.  This was not exactly what Pooh had in mind but he watched and paced back and forth and forth and back, while Eeyore ate his aged straw.

tiggerFinally, after a very long time had passed (it was actually a very short time but it seemed long to Pooh and Eeyore), they both became restless again.  When was the end going to come?  Pooh suggested that they both go to visit Tigger since he is always very optimistic and might have a different view on things.  Hurrying over to Tigger’s house, they find Tigger out in the front yard playing with a balloon while bouncing up and down on a trampoline.  “Hi” says Tigger, “do you guys want to bounce on my trampoline with me.”  “No, no” says Eeyore, “this is very serious. The end of coming quick, we must be ready.”  “Fine with me” says Tigger, “but can’t we just bounce and play until the end comes?”  “Well,” says Pooh, “that would be fine but I am getting hungry. Do you happen to have any honey or jelly that I could make a sandwich with?”  “Sorry Pooh, but my cupaboard is bare, I have been too busy bouncing to worry about eating.”  So the three friends decided to just wait together for the end.  Tigger kept bouncing, Pooh kept feeling hungry and Eeyore kept fretting since he was becoming less and less certain that anything was really going to happen.

Eventually after a long bout of bouncing, Tigger became tired.  “I am going to take a nap” says Tigger, “if the end is coming, I would just as soon be rested when it does.”  Eeyore, more and more doubting that the end was really coming or at least that it would be quick also decided to go home.  “Bye Pooh, see you later” said Eeyore, “that is if there really is a later.”  Pooh was left all alone. Tired, hungry and confused, he was not sure what to do.  Then, in a flash, it came to him. I will go to see Owl.  He is the wisest animal in the forest.  He will know what to do.  So Pooh went off to see Owl.

owlWhen Pooh arrived, Owl was perched up in his nest.  “Hi” said Owl, when Pooh was still a long way off, he could see him coming. “What brings you to the forest today? Are you here to discuss the ethics of Aristotle or maybe you have come to hear about my life when I was a young owl about your age.  Did I ever tell you about the time that I met” —–“Ahem, ahem”, says Pooh, this is an emergency.  The end is coming quick. We must be ready. I tried to warn Eeyore and Tigger, but Tigger decided to take a nap and Eeyore went home. What are we to do?”  “My, my” said Owl, “You say the end is coming quick. Pray tell me what end is coming: the end of the ball game, the end of the warm weather, the end of the hunting season?”  All of these questions just confused Pooh.  He had no idea what end was coming.  He just assumed it meant the end of the world.  Why did Owl always have to make things so complicated?  “Well” said Pooh, “I am not really sure. I saw this young boy (who looked a lot like Christopher Robin) standing on a park bench shouting that the end was coming quick.  I am not really sure what end he meant, now that you have confused me so.  I just came to ask you for advice on what to do.  I am all out of honey and jelly and the end is coming quick.”

Owl thought about the situation and came up with the following poem that he had heard many years before: “A Song on the End of the World” by Czeslaw Milosz, 1944

On the day the world ends

A bee circles a clover,

A fisherman mends a glimmering net.

Happy porpoises jump in the sea,

By the rainspout young sparrows are playing

And the snake is gold-skinned as it should always be.


On the day the world ends

Women walk through the fields under their umbrellas,

A drunkard grows sleepy at the edge of a lawn,

Vegetable peddlers shout in the street

And a yellow-sailed boat comes nearer the island,

The voice of a violin lasts in the air

And leads into a starry night.


And those who expected lightning and thunder

Are disappointed.

And those who expected signs and archangels’ trumps

Do not believe it is happening now.

As long as the sun and the moon are above,

As long as the bumblebee visits a rose,

As long as rosy infants are born

No one believes it is happening now.


Only a white-haired old man, who would be a prophet

Yet is not a prophet, for he’s much too busy,

Repeats while he binds his tomatoes:

There will be no other end of the world,

There will be no other end of the world.

Pooh honestly did not know what this poem meant or why Owl was telling it to him.  “Owl” says Pooh, “you are hurting my brain.  I am even more confused now then I was before. Couldn’t we keep this simple?”  “Well,” said Owl, “animals and people always want things simple.  But maybe, this is not so simple as you would think.  Perhaps we should discuss this further.”  “That is okay” replied Pooh; “I am too hungry now to worry about the end.  All I know is my stomach is growling and I need to find some honey quick to end the rumbly in my tummy.  In fact, maybe that is what the boy was trying to say.  I must find honey very quick or my end will be near.”  Thinking that this was wise advice, Pooh thanked Owl for his time and ran off to find some honey.  By the time, Pooh returned home, he had found a big stash of honey and had totally forgotten that the end was near.  Pooh made a great big honey sandwich and settled in with a large mug of hot chocolate and decided that the end was no longer near.  As long as he had good friends, honey and a comfortable home, that darn end (whatever it was) could come whenever it wanted to.

Time for Questions:

What do we all have in common with Pooh bear?  What end is coming quick?  When do you think the end will come? Are you ready for the end?  Should you care?  What do you have to do to be ready?  What if your end was tomorrow, what would you do?

Life is just beginning. 

My interpretation of this Winnie-the-Pooh story is based on a recent incident.  Last week while coming back from Minneapolis, I passed a young man standing on a park bench, who was shouting “It is coming quick, it is coming quick. The end is coming quick.”  I passed by him in my car and did not have the time (or most likely the desire) to find out what end was coming or how quick was quick.  I decided it would make a good blog.

A Word of Thanks to A. A. Milne who wrote the original Winnie-the-Pooh stories.  Adults and children will for all of time be inspired and grateful for his wonderful characters and stories.  Please buy the book if you have not read it:

Winnie-the-PoohWinnie-the-Pooh by A.A. Milne

“We’ll be Friends Forever, won’t we, Pooh?’ asked Piglet.
Even longer,’ Pooh answered.” 





The Worlds First Un-Blog: How we can solve all of the worlds problems!


I woke up this morning and told Karen that while she was at church, I was going to write an un-blog.  She looked puzzled and wanted to know if that meant I was not going to write a blog.  I said “Of course, I am going to write a blog but it will be an un-blog.”  “Well,” she said, “What is an un-blog?” I replied that it was like an un-birthday party. I actually did not have the slightest clue what it was or could be but I knew that today I was going to invent an un-blog.  With no templates, I would have to invent it as I went along.  I did not bother to Google “un-blog”, so you will forgive me if I reinvent the wheel.  (Actually after I finished this “un-blog”,  I did Google the term to see if I was a “Johnny come lately” or had really invented something new.)

There are several reasons that I come to the point in my blogging where I now know that I need to write an un-blog.  First of all, many of you are probably tired of my advice, admonitions, critiques, complaints, exhortations, etc. about the state of the world and its many problems.  This week alone, I found over five million problems that needed solving in the pages of CNN, MSN, FOX and BBC news.  My best guess is that the number of problems we face in the world has steadily escalated since I was born.  Thus, despite my efforts and other bloggers like me, the number of problems just seems to keep growing exponentially.

Well, being the strategic planner that I like to think I am, I took out my handy “world problem solving software.” I programmed it to prioritize the “greatest” problems this week that I could solve with my exorbitant ego and unlimited resources of advice and solutions.  I must have had low batteries because my screen suddenly went blank and it started flashing “I quit, I quit, I quit.”  Perhaps it was a virus or some type of Trojan?  I immediately turned it off.  This has now created a dilemma.  How can I pick the single most important world problem to solve, if my software is malfunctioning? Would my many followers (considerably less than George Takei) accept me simply choosing a great big humongous problem and solving if for them and the rest of the world?

No! This would not be fair to you my faithful readers and followers.  You will only accept me going after the biggest baddest problems out there selected scientifically and with great forethought.  You expect me to solve these incredible problems with shrewd insight and analytic ability.  You want me to provide solutions that would make Solomon humble.  You expect me to solve only the most critical problems facing the world.  Simple selection would never do for my followers.  Knowing these facts, I felt lost and confused.  With millions of problems out there and my software on the blink, I was like Garry Kasparov trying to win against Big Blue Computer.  I am only human; the stress is unbearable at times.  Thousands of followers, (well maybe a few hundred) depending on my blog each week for advice and succor!

In truth again (Never trust anyone who says “in truth” or “trust me”) I could not select a single problem this week to tackle.  I am weary of solving all of the problems in the world. The burden has become too great.  Simply perusing my blogs, you will note the number of critical world and USA problems that I have already solved this past year.  To make matters worse, to date, I have not received one penny for my efforts or even an invitation to the White House.  I have not been knighted or given the Profiles in Courage award either. Perhaps, I missed the phone calls from Obama and the Queen.  I must remember to check my voice mail more often or at least my text messages.

It is very frustrating.  No matter how altruistic I am, I crave some simple recognition.  It is a lot like being a superhero but no one knows it.  What is the point of having super-powers if no one is there to applaud idealize and worship you?  I can accept that a few of my miraculous ideas and solutions might have been slightly off mark, but I cannot accept that all of them were.  Furthermore, please go to my first blog site where I have posted over 600 blogs dealing with various and assorted issues affecting the world.  See if some of these blogs don’t bring tears to your eyes or joy to your heart.  (You can find them at  All of these issues has led me this week to create the world’s first “un-blog.”

It is my considered but humble opinion that in an un-blog, I (the Blogger) should not solve any problems.  A typical blogger writes their blog either to solve problems or to give opinions and advice. It is not fair, that you the reader (The Bloggee) get all this free advice and give nothing in return.  It is only right that in an “un-blog”, you the reader and faithful follower, should be the ones to solve the problems and give me advice.  It is time to pony up.  How many of my blogs have you commented on?  How many have you disagreed with?  What have you taken a stand on?  What has stopped you from being an “un-blogger?”  It is your turn to pay me back for all the solutions and advice I have so freely and graciously given to you.  Think of your world without my blog.  As the walrus said in “Alice in Wonderland”:


“The time has come,” the Walrus said,
“To talk of many things:
Of shoes–and ships–and sealing-wax–
Of cabbages–and kings–
And why the sea is boiling hot–
And whether pigs have wings.”

I would love to hear your take on “What are the biggest problems the world faces.”  I would really like to hear what you think.  (See my questions below.)  Send me an email or post your replies in the comments section.  Speak out.  Today is your chance to be an un-blogger.  It is your golden opportunity to help solve the many problems facing the world or to at least offer some advice on what you think those problems are.  Perhaps, your brilliance and erudition might be discovered on my blog and you will be invited to the White House.  (Please do not hold your breath.)  If you do get invited, please, please take me along. 

Time for Questions: 

What are the biggest problems you face in your life?  What are your solutions?  What do you think we should do to save the world?  How can we deal with apathy and those that do not care?  Where do we start?  Should we have major political changes in our constitution?  How could we get these?  What would you like to see changed in the world or even just in your home town?  What does Persico mean “Life is just beginning?”

Life is just beginning.

I finally broke down and looked up “Un-blog” on Google.  Here is what I found.

  1. un- blog – definition and meaning – Wordnik

Sorry, no example sentences found. Related Words. Log in or sign up to add your own related words. Wordmap. (beta). Word visualization. Comments. Log in or …

I think this means that there are no definitions.  I can thus claim the distinction of being the first “un-blogger” on the internet.  Or perhaps my readers and faithful followers who have answered my questions should be the first to receive this distinction.

Here is my definition of an “un-blog.”

“A blog site where the readers post opinions and solve problems and the blogger simply listens and does not weigh in with advice or solutions.  A place of introspection rather than extrospection.” 

Killing for Machismo

I hope to have more people read this blog. It is one of the most important I think I have written.

Aging Capriciously

It was a crime of passion

She took me by the heart when she took me by the hand

Crime of passion

A beautiful woman and a desperate man  —- Ricky Van Shelton

I find it ironic that there are Seven Deadly Sins or vices but they do not include the “Sin of Machismo.”  I would venture to argue that there are more people killed in the world every day because of Machismo than any other cause or problem that you could name.  To not include Machismo in any list of major crimes or sins or vices, is one of the most egregious oversights in history.  Is it because Machismo is a uniquely masculine concept that it has never acquired the degree of condemnation that it merits?  Or is it an example of the “Fish being the last one to see the water.”   Some would argue that…

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