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    Thursday, September 17, 2015

    On Today's Walk

      I had these thoughts while walking today with my dog Einstein. I hope some are useful to you or at least interesting. I call out some embedded lessons at the end.

    "The act of taking a step is a miracle." Think about it.

    "Neighbors Bob, Linda and dog Ollie are walking down the street toward me. Their microexpressions say they don't want to see me. Plus, their eyes are avoiding mine. Maybe they're deep in conversation, maybe they don't like me. I did brag once to them that I was writing columns for TIME. Maybe they thought that was obnoxious. I'll say something that establishes us as equal: "Nice doggies.""

    "They say that to really relax, you must scan your environment as you walk. Okay, stop thinking about your article. Scan!. But they also say that you think better while walking. You want your article to be good, so keep thinking about it. You can scan during your next walk. Yeah, right. You'll have something else to think about."

    "Having a doggie is so good for a person who sits so much--Einstein has to get out. And the walk is de-stressing."

    "The experts say you should decide where the dog pees. That feels too controlling. It's no biggie to give Einstein that freedom."

     "I hope I live as long and as well as my mom did. I doubt it: There are four widows for every widower. Martin, change the topic."

    "I'm hungry. It would be fun to stop for a burrito. No!: A moment on the lips, lifetime on the hips. It's stupid to overeat. Picture yourself on a gurney. You may not even get a gurney--The health care system is maxed out and when ACA kicks in next year and then "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" gives 12+ million low-pay/high need people access to the system, not to mention all the refugees we'll be taking in, oy! Martin, change the topic."

    "Hasa Diga Ibowai (catchy song from the Broadway show Book of Mormon) keeps rolling around in my head. Ear worms are good things. Stress busters."

    "A pink truck races by. It's Pink Plan, a water delivery service that donates some profit to breast cancer. Damn!  Men die 5.2 years earlier and earlier of all 10 of the top 10 causes of death, yet nearly all the gender-specific effort and money goes to women's diseases. A sea of pink, another fundraiser for breast cancer, those Coke cans on women and heart disease.  And don't tell me that men don't take of themselves. Both sexes have similar rates of smoking, drinking, and obesity. I think back to that lit review I did---In PubMed, which indexes 3,000 medical journals. 95% of the gender-specific research in the last 60 years has been done on women. It thus isn't surprising that the female/male lifespan gap has grown from 1 year in 1920 to 5.2 now.  When women have a less serious deficit than dying 5.2 years earlier, for example, that there are fewer women engineers, we spend a fortune of my tax dollars so fewer guys and more women engineers get hired. But if men die much younger, screw 'em. Change the topic Martin---You're a thimble trying to stop a tidal wave. You're just stressing yourself out. Change the topic!"

    "That Afterglow echeveria is surreal and the flower is bizarre. It could be used in a sci-fi film."

    Another person passes without establishing eye contact with me. "Is it a sign of the times or that I'm ugly and getting old so people don't want to look at me. Or maybe I need to smile at them."

    "What should I do tonight? It's crazy that I work every night until midnight. Should I see a movie? Too passive. See a friend? None I'd prefer to writing, reading, or even listening for the 10th time to the Book of Mormon CD. But I'm running out of topics for Psychology Today. I should be---I haven't missed a day in 500. Maybe I should take a day or 10 off from Psychology Today just to see how it feels, to see what I'd do with the time."

    I pass a newspaper rack with the headline Schools' State Test Results Sobering (link is external). "Nothing new. Even though the U.S. is #1 worldwide in per-student spending (link is external), we still suck. All their tortured explanations avoid the obvious: We have a more challenging student population than do countries like Sweden or China."

    A woman finally establishes eye contact---with Einstein. She stops, kneels down, peers into his eyes and says, "You're gorgeous!"

    Some of the embedded takeaways

    Most of the takeaways embedded above are self-explanatory. These, however, may justify a call-out:

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