Welcome to the Misadventures of Widowhood blog!

In January of 2012 my soul mate of 42 years passed away after nearly 12 years of living with severe disabilities due to a stroke. I survived the first year after Don’s death doing what most widows do---trying to make sense of my world turned upside down. The pain and heartache of loss, my dark humor, my sweetest memories and, yes, even my pity parties are well documented in this blog.

Now that I’m a "seasoned widow" the focus of my writing has changed. I’m still a widow looking through that lens but I’m also a woman searching for contentment, friends and a voice in my restless world. Some people say I have a quirky sense of humor that shows up from time to time in this blog. Others say I make some keen observations about life and growing older. I say I just write about whatever passes through my days---the good, bad and the ugly. Comments welcome and encouraged. Let's get a dialogue going! Jean

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

The Law of the Garbage Truck and Other Junk

Like everyone with a computer I get my fair share of chain emails. Some are filled with photos, some with humor, and some with rants against (or for) one cause or another. I only forward a faction of these kinds of emails and only to people I think would especially be interested in the topic. But you sure learn a lot of about the friends and family who send them---what they value, what they find humorous or beautiful, etc. How gullible a few are who pass around emails that have been debunked as false and misleading a long time ago.

Today I got one of those chain emails after spending the morning on the Wild West of political sites where you can debate with not only Democrats, Republicans, Libertarians and Tea Party people but also with KKK members, secessionists, hard-core NRA members, conspiracy theorists and survivalists claiming to be living off the grid. And did I mention crazy people? It truly is a site of fast-moving and diverse opinions filled with nasty name calling and delusional thought. But I consider my time spent there akin to brain exercises with a side order of research and debate practice thrown in. For a long time after Don died I didn’t have the stomach for the place but the mass murders in California this past Holiday weekend drew me back in big time. The disgusting lack of empathy for one of the victim’s father, who showed the world his raw grief on the media, was mind boggling and I couldn’t leave those forum threads alone.

But the world---at least mine---has a way of finding balance when it’s needed the most thus enters the chain email I got this afternoon. It’s titled The Law of the Garbage Truck. I have since learned there is a book by that same name written by David J. Pollay and after reading the reviews, it's obvious the book gave birth to the chain email. Whether David wrote the original email, or someone else, the story in it is his. The book has been translated into 50 languages so I have no doubt this email has probably been around the world a few time. In case you didn't get a copy, here it is:

“One day I hopped in a taxi and we took off for the airport. We were driving in the right lane when suddenly a black car jumped out of a parking space right in front of us. My taxi driver slammed on his brakes, skidded, and missed the other car by just inches! The driver of the other car whipped his head around and started yelling at us. My taxi driver just smiled and waved at the guy. And I mean, he was really friendly. So I asked, 'Why did you just do that? This guy almost ruined your car and sent us to the hospital!' This is when my taxi driver taught me what I now call, 'The Law of the Garbage Truck.'

"He explained that many people are like garbage trucks. They run around full of garbage, full of frustration, full of anger, and full of disappointment. As their garbage piles up, they need a place to dump it and sometimes they'll dump it on you. Don't take it personally. Just smile, wave, wish them well, and move on. Don't take their garbage and spread it to other people at work, at home, or on the streets. The bottom line is that successful people do not let garbage trucks take over their day. Life's too short to wake up in the morning with regrets. So ....love the people who treat you right. Pray for the ones who don't. Life is ten percent what you make it and ninety percent how you take it.”

I love that story, maybe because it reminds me of my one of my father’s philosophical thoughts on how to live a happy life. Maybe I like the story because it will help remind me not to take it personal when I’m at the Wild West of websites and I’m being called vile names because I dare have empathy for a grieving father. Not that I do take it personal 90% of the time. But that 10% of the time when I do start getting too invested in a debate thread, I’m going to remember the Law of the Garbage Truck. And if that isn’t enough to keep me in check when I start feeling like I am starting to take it personal I will recite a great line I learned today over at Bella Rum’s blog: “Is this the hill I want to die on?” What could be a more appropriate question to ask myself when it might be time to retreat from the Wild West and come play with my friends in the wonderful world of widow and old people bloggers?  Some wars of words can't be won and sometimes it's better to live to fight another day. ©

14 comments:

  1. I have blocked a couple FB friends because of their Garbage Truck load. I liked Bella's friends saying too. Or--"Will this matter in five years?" "Is this a matter of life or death?" I could not go to your political site--I would just end up being angry or sad or wonder why some people are such idiots. Good post here, Jean!!!

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    1. I haven't blocked anyone on Facebook but I have my setting set so I don't have the "garbage dumpers" in my daily feed.

      Thanks Judy! You have to be in the right mood, that's for sure to fight at that political site. There are other political sites where the management doesn't allow the fringe group people to get away with so much nastiness but in some ways I like the unfilled version. It's easier to pick out the idiots and try to get them to see the other side of the coin.

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  2. Why would anyone be miffed because the father of one of the victims was so ravaged with grief? What were their reasons?

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    1. The NRA hard-liners see him as "the enemy" because the father mentioned Sandy Hook and asked why hasn't our law makers done anything about gun control. So they attack this father and don't seem to recognize raw grief when they see it. Some think it's all act, other don't care if he's grieving. The debates can go on for days and days and get thousands of views.

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    2. Good Grief!! The guy on campus had guns legally. I am for stricter gun laws at gun shows and that sort of thing, but, in the long run,, when you have a nut case on the loose, they will figure out someway to harm people, be it a bomb, a machete or their car. What we really need to concentrate on is getting funding for mental hospitals to be opened back up and for parents to get the help they need for their troubled children. The whole world makes me very sad!

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    3. I agree but I also think we have to hit the problem from all angles, all at once. It's such a complicated issue that it does make you sad because what ever is or can be done is going to take time and a whole generation of kids, in the meantime, are going to grow up in fear while the adult argue over solutions.

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  3. First time I've read the Law of the Garbage Truck. >>>Warning <<< I'm emptying my garbage truck today, this minute -

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  4. I LOVE this story! Hopefully I'll remember it often when someone just needs to dump. We never really know what's going on behind the scenes.

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    1. With all the nut balls out there in society I think the Law of the Garbage Truck is a good way to treat strangers who unreasonably dump on you.

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  5. Hi, Jean. I stopped by early this morning but I was interrupted before I could finish.
    I love the Garbage Truck philosophy. People dump their stuff on us and move on, and sometimes we carry it all day. Not taking it personally is the way to go.

    Virginia is one of the worst states regarding gun sales. You can't swing a cat around here without hitting someone who owns guns. You can buy most anything you want at gun shows. I don't think that will change anytime soon. It's frustrating. I can't believe people can find the nerve to criticize a grieving father.

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  6. Believe it, they are still ragging on Richard Martinez although I finally dropped out of the threads. It's truly disgusting the names the gun nuts call that grieving father.

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  7. We saw that interview too. It was heart breaking to see the father grieving for his son and other people taking "pot shots" at him. It seems like empathy and understanding how people may react to something horrible have totally gone out the window.

    But we love the Garbage Truck philosophy. It definitely describes those chain email messages to a T. And Mama has a friend that constantly bombards my email with useless messages.

    Love -

    Hershey and Kaci

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    1. Empathy does seem to be getting lost in this day and age. Very sad!

      We haven't seen the end of Mr.Martinez. I guess he was evolved in the gun control debate before his son was killed and he is going to be a force to recon with.in the future, I think.

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