Archive for December, 2012

December 29, 2012

#51) New Year’s resolutions inspired by 2012

Maybe it’s just me, but it seems as if 2012 was a year when the world was on edge.  From the tragic shootings in Connecticut, Colorado and Oregon to the acrimony of the presidential campaigns and election, it’s enough to make me understand why some many people believed in the Mayan Apocalypse.  It’s gotten me thinking about ways to make 2013 better.  Most of these are not goals I think are realistic to keep for the full year; rather they are more like “projects”; periods of sacrifice or behavior change, along the lines of Lent.  Perhaps as a result, the new behavior after the goal is completed.  We’ll know in 365 days.

1) Read at least one article/blog post/etc. that contradicts your beliefs.  Whether you are a Democrat or Republican, liberal or conservative, pro-choice or pro-life, you can learn a lot from at least understanding the other side’s point of view. You may be even more convinced your own opinion is right, but the best way to be a solid debater is to know the other side’s arguments.

2) Idiot Driver Amnesty Day.  No matter where you live, whether you commute by car, bus, bike, skateboard or foot, odds are you have to deal with drivers who are dangerous, selfish, distracted or just plain not that bright.  I propose picking one day and simply forgiving drivers for these transgressions. I’m not suggesting a lack of follow-up if an accident occurs; I’m not suggesting you don’t use your horn for safety.  But don’t flip the bird; don’t flash your lights at the person in front of you, no matter how slowly they’re driving.  Is it a drag to be late to work because of slow traffic?  Of course it is.  It’s not the end of the world.  I don’t mind saying that this resolution is probably the one which with I will have the most difficulty.

3) Radio Silent Hour Week.  Every day for one week, disconnect from all media for one hour.  No email, voicemail, Facebook updates, tweets, Youtube; you get the idea.  Will you lose clients because you don’t get back to them quickly?  Maybe.  I recently missed a gig because when the call came in, I was having sex with my wife.  I am not sure that, should a similar situation arise in the future, I would do things any differently.

4) Piss someone off.  Huh?  Isn’t this supposed to be about making the world a better place and making our own life better?  Well, when I suggest pissing someone off, I don’t mean going out of the way to do it; I simply mean, saying “no” when you mean “no”; not doing something for someone else that benefits only them.  Someone once said that if everyone likes you, you’re not doing your job.  I forget who they were, but they were right.

5) Facebook free day.  Exactly what it sounds like.  You can always see pictures of your co-worker’s kids, pithy political cartoons and game invitations tomorrow.  As for your own posts: quality over quantity, people.

6) Media free food week.  Huh?  Yes, media free food week.  In other words: don’t eat in front of the TV.  Don’t eat while talking on your phone.  Don’t eat while driving.  Don’t eat while surfing the web.  Next to #2, this will probably be the toughest one on the list for me – but I’m giving it a shot.  Studies have linked eating in front of the TV (and one can reasonably conclude that the computer and its kin are also guilty) to weight gain; check out this article for more information.

7) Twitter free year.  Yes, year.  I have to say that while every technology and every website has its good and bad sides, with Twitter, the negative far outweighs the positive.  Lots of people have been disciplined over poorly timed tweets, whether it was Boston College soccer player Stephanie McCaffrey or collegiate football player Bradley Patterson.  True, one can always refrain from making offensive tweets, but regardless, what has Twitter really done for you lately?  We all loved watching Obama use it to build support in ’08, but I can’t help but feel as if the site’s days as an agent for publicity are done.  Maybe I’m wrong and will be eating my words at this time next year; all hating can be directed to @dlockeretz.

8) Write a letter.  A letter to the editor, a letter to a friend, a letter to family.  No postcards; you will probably do those anyways.  No holiday card either; no one wants to hear about how great your year was when theirs sucked.  While I have handwriting that is worse than any right-handed person I know (and I have a substantial number of the lefties beat too), I enjoy busting out the pen and paper from time to time; it’s a little more personal than an email or a text message.

9) Listen to one record that you haven’t heard before.  By record, I mean physical recording – compact disc, LP record, cassette, 8-track, wax cylinder.  Start to finish, no media interruptions, no conversations.  Maybe this is just the reactionary musician who doesn’t want to get with the times going on a rant, but just try it.  You might discover something new.  Might I suggest Donald Fagen’s “The Nightfly” or Charles Mingus’s “Ah Um.” As with #8, I”m not trying to fight the new; I’m just suggesting that maybe the old isn’t completely obsolete.  Tweet @dlockeretz if you disagree.

10) Visit one place that you’ve never heard of.  Most people reading this probably use Google Maps or Mapquest to look up directions to appointments and meetings.  If you’ve done this, perhaps you’ve noticed a park, a local business or some other site that looks interesting, but never got around to checking it out.  I say: check it out!  You might even find a good hiking trail near you.  Not that I have any kind of vested interest in getting people interested in hiking, of course.

Thanks for reading & happy new year!

December 5, 2012

#50) Judith Black’s memories of Sarah Wernick

Five years ago, at my mom’s memorial service, her good friend Judith Black gave a moving, entertaining and heart-felt talk.  In honor of Sarah Wernick’s 70th birthday, here’s what she said, pieced together from her notes and edited for this format.  Happy birthday Mom! 

When you looked at Sarah Wernick what you saw was a 4 door ’62 Dodge Dart in basic brown, built for comfort.  But If you took the time to check you’d notice the 12 cylinder engine and six speed automatic transmission.  As the world’s leading pragmatist she was prepared to negotiate any terrain.

She had adaptive shock absorbers, and self leveling air springs.  Little surprised or repelled her and she could adjust her thinking to most topics.

She had killer anti-fog lights, and was able to perceive the reality and detail of the most mucked up terrain.

Audio Connectivity Module for iPod or an mp3 player?  Ha, there were 4 computers in her home when the rest of us were still listening to 8-tracks and schlepping to the library daily.

And of course a One-touch Power Moon Roof , because she had an eye always on the big picture.

Sarah threw open her car door to me in 1981, when she penned an article on our fledgling storytelling collective, and helped turn ‘Storytellers in Concert’ into a healthy Boston area performing arts institution for the next decade.

“That was wonderfully kind of you,” I said.

“Oh darling, I’m not kind, I enjoy this, and the storytelling is wonderful.”

For the next 26 years I rode with her: soup in the kitchen and holidays in their Lancaster Terrace dining room; over nights and gossip about our professional worlds; an expectation that said “you’re always welcomed” that was also extended from David, Benjamin and Willie.

In ’83, unmarried and solo, I gave birth to Solomon.

“Darling you can’t go home with a new born to an empty apartment.  Why don’t you come and stay with us for a few days?’

“That is so kind of you.”

“I am not kind.  I think it would be great opportunity for David and Benjamin.’

She taught me the absolute necessity of choosing the right number and sizes of pillows for nursing.  As a pragmatist she designated one bathroom for the boys and one for the girls, and David and Benjamin did indeed cull great knowledge from our stay.  They developed ‘The Solomon po po pee pee game’ and their profound observations have led to life time of scatological humor.

In time–“The Emotional Problems of Normal Children” not withstanding–she shared with me the most successful of parenting techniques.  “Bribery, darling.  There are few things, at this age, that an extra quarter can’t solve.”

Throughout the years, when asked, she’d turn those anti-fog lights my way, and was the best story making coach I ever had.  “Darling,  this experience, about sitting in the deli with your mother-in-law,  it conveys the transition you want but it’s too much.  It takes us out of the story.  You need to create a more tailored way of giving us that information.”  Her advice that helped my work win awards was: “just because it happened doesn’t mean it belongs in the story.”  Sarah taught me the difference between truth, which is essential and fact, which, in story, is variable.

“This is so kind of you.”

“Trust me, I’m not kind.  I enjoy this.”

During these last eight years or so we would go with the needle nosed, long legged blondes of my gym to Canyon Ranch.  We got a great group rate and Sarah, as in everything, would have researched her options and come fully equipped with her agenda of events including swim classes, chair pilates, and lectures on health and fitness.  We’d meet daily for the brilliant low fat, high fiber, limitless serving meals.  One year the group leader was cornered by a number of the women, who insisted she come to me and make a suggestion to Sarah.  “We’ve been talking about it,” she said, “And we’ve all decided that Sarah’s figure would be so much better if she wore a brassiere.”

All they saw was the chaise of the of 62 Dodge Dart!  We laughed and got doubles on dessert ….they are very small at health spas!

If we receive any collective gift from Sarah Wernick, it is to keep our engines tuned, fog lights on high and car doors open, always open, always open.