The Old Saying Goes ...

Eighty-six-year-old “moon walker” Buzz Aldrin stepped up to the microphone recently and told the press that if the world doesn’t start to take a global approach to space investigation and science we may never get to Mars.  He suggested the moon as a stop-over point for fueling and went on to say perhaps other countries may already have the intelligence to do something like that right now.  He said if we worked together for space exploration and started thinking “out of the box” a little more we could accomplish great things.  He finished his notes by warning that it is time for countries to stop competing and instead time to start harmoniously engaging the global community to work together for a better earth.

Pretty forward thinking for an 86-year-old man; I guess it should be expected from the first man on earth to be the second man on the moon (Neil Armstrong was first out of the craft).  I bet everyone assumed Buzz had already made his biggest impact on our country.  Well despite his previous contributions, Aldrin may make a bigger impact by encouraging international harmony through his very wise words.  You never know where inspiration may come from or who may say the thing that makes a difference.  Indeed, maybe what someone says makes a difference to you and then you are therefore inspired to say something based on that and that will make a difference to millions of people forever.  You just never know and shouldn’t assume.

Fake Vs. Real

I’ve been reading the dual biography of Andy Griffith and Don Knotts called Andy and Don by Daniel de Vise.  It tells the story of the two men that inhabited our imaginations in the town of Mayberry and how they came together, worked together and lived in the years before during and after their hit show.  One of the items that really struck me was when the author discussed 7-year old Ronny Howard who played Andy’s son, Opie, on the show.  My whole life, I assumed that Andy and Ronny had forged this great relationship off screen and the father-and-son moments that were captured on the air were really the first “reality TV” the nation had ever seen.  Through the book, however, I learned that Andy’s relationship with his own kids was indeed close, but he lacked the real warm and tender emotional side that he watched going on before him between Ronny Howard and his real life father, Rance, (who was on the set constantly with his son because he was so young).  Indeed, Ronny and his dad were inseparable and in such great family harmony that the writers often “lifted” things they saw behind the scenes on the set between the two and transported those moments into lines between Andy and his television son, Opie.  I just always assumed Andy Griffith and Andy Taylor were the same person.  Seems the better father was more of an act than the real thing.

The Wrong Impression

See how these assumptions take you so far away from the facts?

You know, when he was first elected president, a lot of people assumed Ronald Reagan was a war-mongering old-time Republican.  He was actually more interested in the Soviet Union going broke by trying to keep up with the U.S. military technology than he was building up our weaponry.  He stopped the Cold War by taking his opponent out strategically and methodically.  His opponent actually took itself out by committing all of the USSR’s funds to military build-up due to the American “threat.”  By the time Reagan arrived at Gorbachev’s door asking for nuclear peace, the Soviet Union was so weak and broke it was all too happy to negotiate. Again it seems what people are encouraged to believe can be very far from the truth.

Having All The Answers

When my youngest child was born, he had intolerance for lactose that caused him a lot of pain and discomfort before we figured out he needed to be raised on soy milk.  He developed some cranky habits as we were figuring all this out, and finally I came across an article that mentioned the use of “white noise” on babies who had a lot of colic.  They said a baby who had developed a “habit” of crying will revert back to that mode when he experiences any symptom that reminds him of the pain that the milk intolerance gave him.  The article said if you evoke a white noise source like a hair dryer or vacuum cleaner, the baby will tire of trying to out-whine the machine and will shut down and sleep.  Well every time I tried it there were always aunts or grandmothers or daughters or worse yet--my wife around--and the minute I attempted to haul out the vacuum or something they would all stop me.  “Are you crazy?  That noise will scare him to death?” I’d get, “Oh you new parents think you have all the answers, put that thing away!”  The worst would be that condescending glare from several of them at the same time so I complied; I was but a “silly man.”  But one day I was alone with the kid and I got to conduct my experiment.  As he began his familiar crying pattern I brought out the vacuum and safely kept it 20 feet away but as the noise filled the room he immediately stopped crying and fell fast asleep.  I tried it a couple more times over the next week and not only did it work, it never failed!  So I took out my trusty pocket tape recorder and recorded 30 minutes of vacuum noise.  I loaded it in my pocket and kept it hidden like a TOP SECRET document.   One afternoon at a holiday picnic, my boy was lying in his carriage getting ready for a nap.  The outdoor noises kept awakening him so I finally pushed him out of the watchful eyes of the female commando force and dropped the recorder/player into the carriage on medium volume.  The crying stopped within seconds.  The ladies surrounded the carriage and saw what I had done.  The tried to legitimize it’s working power by saying things like, “Well he must have been really tired,” or “See when kids are outside they just sleep better – it’s the fresh air.”  Yeah?  I think it was my ingenious invention.  Sam is 19 now and long beyond his pocket recorder white noise days but I have to stop myself from gloating now that the next generation has started making babies and little pocket recorders filled with white noise recordings turn up all the time in the new parent’s baby bags.  These are the children and grandchildren of the mothers that assumed I was “out of my mind” for exposing my boy to that noise.

I assume they’re done assuming.

And I just know (not assume) I will never be told I was right.