A Penny's Worth of Thoughts

We humans have busy minds. According to one scientific study, our brains process more than 3000 thoughts a day. I’m surprised by that fact because too many folks in this world don’t seem to come up with 3, not to mention 3000, thoughts a day. What the study fails to identify are the types of thoughts that are generated by us.

Parents would like for their teens to spend brain energy on educational pursuits. Yeah, right. Just like every generation that’s come before, teens are thinking of new ways to have fun. Every thought of preparing for the future is squeezed out and replaced by those regarding what party to attend on the coming weekend. Males produce earth-shaking thoughts on such things as cars, drinking beer, and sex. Girls, however, are more tuned into such things as make-up, hair styles, and boyfriends. Most teens never allow a serious thought get in the way of doing something fun or dangerous. It’s only when a crisis arises that teens produce serious thoughts. They then concentrate on excuses for the goof-ups they’ve made.

In many ways, we men think along the lines of little children. We spend time on developing things that will entertain us. For hours we can suspend all thoughts and sit in front of a television as games of football or baseball air. In other situations we think of how to best show our manliness. Sometimes that means hunting small animals and dragging them to the cave for food, or we engage in games of softball, football, or basketball against other aging men. The goal is to display our rugged spirits, even if it means risking gunshot wounds or heart attacks running down the court or around the bases. The majority of our thoughts are dedicated to figuring out way to keep out of trouble with our wives. No, that doesn’t mean our intentions are to perform every act that will keep them happy. Instead, we men cogitate about ways to put forth a minimum amount of effort while looking as if we are working like horses.

Women are the real thought producers in this world. They have no shortage of thoughts on how to help their families survive. Among them are the ones aimed at ensuring that children perform well in school, complete tasks at home, and maintain clean rooms and bodies. A large percentage of their thoughts are focused on the other children-husbands. Females devise ways to keep men in line and, in some cases, to make their lives a miserable as possible. If they have any energy or time left, the fairer sex might think about themselves, but for the most part, they are the most unselfish, other-directed beings around.

Of all the groups, politicians do the most thinking. That doesn’t mean they have any bright ideas though. These individuals that guide our nation are supposed to develop strategies to benefit the masses. In too many instances, they come up with plans that allow the disparities between rich and poor to widen. Some local legislators make careers thinking up absurd bills that are empty of everything other than publicity for themselves. Among them are such things as allowing professors and ministers to carry guns or banning any talk of homosexuality in hopes that it will go away. The only thing these folks do more than think is talk. When they do, their mindless chatter usually costs Americans money and energy.

I left out the group including young children. They are the group that probably produces the purest thoughts. Little guys like everything and everybody. It’s only when they’re exposed to adults that their thoughts are bent and perverted. Society tells us that we become more civilized through education. I’ve seen the messes humanity has made over the years, so perhaps all of us could benefit from maintaining a bit of childish innocence that isn’t colored with big people thoughts.

Tornado Tactics

I spent several hours shuffling between my office, the den where the television is located, the back door, and the basement. Tornado warnings are something that I take seriously.

Twisters fascinate me. In fact, one of the top ten things on my bucket list is to chase storms in the mid-west during tornado season. I’d like to hook up with a seasoned pro who chases dark clouds and foreboding skies for a living. That way, his vehicle can take the beating from inclement weather, hail, and flying objects. I’ll take my camera a shoot pictures until the funnel cloud draws too close for comfort. Then I’ll cry like a baby and beg the guide to get us the hell out of there. Hey, I’m curious, not brave.

During my college years, I experienced the fear and stupidity of folks during a tornado warning on evening. Two funnel clouds bore down on the town of Cookeville. I was a head resident of a dorm, and my job included herding a five-floor building filled with male college students to the lowest level. The dorm staff, which consisted of one assistant and me, walked to the top fifth floor and began evacuating residents. Some carped about having to leave, but threats of being taken before the university housing director served as a sufficient prod.

After what seemed like hours, all the residents were on the bottom floor, and we instructed them in the proper procedures in the event that the tornado hit. After that, we opened the exit doors to allow the cooling air to circulate. Bringing that many young males together in such a cramped space produces a mixture of foul odors. We looked to the west and saw some fool standing on the roof of another dorm. Staff members encouraged him to climb down to safety, but he refused. Then he let loose one of the dumbest comments ever uttered: “I’ll come down as soon as I see the funnel cloud!” That would have been just a little too late. The goof ball eventually descended and met several furious and frightened folks.

The tornadoes jumped from one end of the town to the other and spared the university. Others, however, suffered loss of property and, on a couple of occasions, life. Stories of miracles and lives being spared spread throughout the town, and a large contingency of volunteers began the process of cleaning up those hard hit areas.

On one occasion since then, I hustled my family into our basement one night when storms were severe. They whined over my waking them up, but I insisted that we stayed in a safe place until the all-clear aired. My actions that night further solidified my reputation as someone who worried too much and over-reacted in situations.

The other day might well be another when I go too far. That’s all right because I’d rather be safe than blown to Kansas. The second wave of storms swept in, and again I gathered valuables and supplies to place in the basement. Preparations were complete for a trip to the basement if conditions warranted, and Snoop and I prepared to hangout until the sun shines again.