It’s been about 18 months since my heart chakra opened and there have been unexpected changes in my life, not least of which was the opening of my heart chakra in the first place.
One of the things that happened to me is that increasingly I find people are sharing their life stories with me; sometimes those stories are horrifying. I mentioned them to my wife the psychotherapist, who tells me she hears stuff like that (and worse) all the time. I have trouble hearing it without being deeply affected. I was advised to keep a plexiglass shield up, to listen with empathy and compassion, and to remember that they are different people than me, that their pain is not mine. Compassion and identification are two different things.
My operating theory for a long time was that people were talking to me in ways they hadn’t before. My daughters of suggested that perhaps they were talking to me in ways they always had, but now I was listening.
My recent items on wearing clothes to death and bowties attracted attention I did not expect. In particular one friend of long standing reminded me of the black-tie dinner parties I used to hold back in the 1980s.
Why? I owned a tuxedo and knew several other men who did, along with women who had formal dresses. Vicki and I enjoyed cooking fancy meals and drinking nice wine, and had friends who shared those tastes, some of whom were willing to fly across the country for a good meal in our formal dining room served on China with heirloom silver accompanied by wine and crystal glasses (the latter won on the Wheel Of Fortune).
Two of our guests from those days have died, and the rest of us have settled into adulthood, parenthood and domesticity.
It is still true that we can cook a better meal than you can get in most restaurants, but it just doesn’t seem to be worth the time anymore. I’m glad I did it, and I am glad that I got the video off VHS tapes before VHS players became impossible to find.
I can’t help but mention, again, a childhood friend who, like me, was raised working class. When he saw me in a tux on New Years’ Eve, he joked (I think he was joking) “You’re wearing the costume of the oppressor.”
Since I aspired to rise from the working class to the oppressor class (but without the oppression part), I was fine with that. Besides, a tux is also the costume of the working class, in restaurants or on entertainers (like me when I play in a brass band).
Link to: Perfect? No. Maybe.
Are you perfect?
I know that.
But you are good.
You know that.
Another Paul Schindler I’m Not
There is another Paul Schindler Doppleganger whom I discovered when my I posted my song If Offered A Choice on ITunes. I am the Paul Schindler on ITunes whose cover art is the picture at the top of this column. There is a camera-shy Paul Schindler with a bunch of albums who is NOT me. I was going to go by Paul E. Schindler, Jr., but my daughters talked me out of it as too formal. At least it would disambiguate, but it’s too late for that.
From 22 years ago, here’s a Boomer Test. No one under 40 need bother taking it. I did not write it, I simply ran it without credit to the original author, A. Nony Mous.
“One of the most sincere forms of respect is actually listening to what another has to say.”
Michael Moore Newsletter
If you aren’t already reading Michael Moore’s newsletter, you should be. Where else will you find writing like this: “By forcing the majority to fight each other for the crumbs off the rich man’s table…”
On KQED-FM last week: Kelly Corrigan and LinkedIn's Meg Garlinghouse discussed the meaning of work and what defines a job, a career or a calling. Garlinghouse said people of all ages consider that their jobs fall into one of those categories. I am interested in your experience.
As for my employment,: my last “just a job” was driving a delivery truck for the Lind Childrenswear warehouse in Portland at age 17, a job which I quit so I could take a Fourth of July double-shift as a DJ at KVAN, an underground rock station. I had also worked as a toll taker at a garbage dump and a cherry picker.
Setting type at The Tech and repairing phones at MIT’s Dormitory Telephone Service were kind of jobs; I never saw them as careers. I loved and enjoyed those jobs, but never mistook them for callings.
Thirty years of journalism was a calling: I felt I was doing good in the world. Then came my decade of teaching 8th grade U.S. History. That was absolutely a calling: no one in their right mind would do it for the money, as a job.
I like to refer to myself as a first-generation “passion” job holder. My father literally woke up every day of his adult life hating his job. I literally woke up every day of my adult life anxious to start work because I loved my job, career or calling.
One expression of joy might just be a woman being polite. Two “wows” could be luck in the choice of recipients. Three talking about feeling joy may mean I’m onto something.
I am not a social influencer, although I do play one on the Internet. Insofar as I know, none of you are either, outside of a small circle of friends. Still, I’m asking you to put your back into getting this song out.
This is not about me (believe it or not), or my princely share of the 99 cents per copy I’ll make if anyone buys this song. I’d give it away if Itunes allowed that. It is about my purpose in life. As stated in the column recently, I have come to realize I was put here to bring joy to the lives of others. If this song catches on, it will do that, and I will have fulfilled my purpose.
Lend me a hand.
My item on the gendered nature of keeping clothes until they wear out brought a few comments, including one that reminded me of my bow-tie period. I wore them regularly at CMP during the 1990s, and wore them once a week or so while I was teaching from 2003 to 2013. At CMP, I wore them in an effort to be memorable, which drew the frequent comment, “No one will ever forget meeting you, bow tie or not.”
I hear doctors like bow ties because they reduce the risk because traditional ties would be germ or other contaminant or problem vectors. Presumably food service too; thus bow ties on maitre d’s.
I asked Google Photos to dig up a picture; it didn’t find many, but there was one surprise. Turns out I am a second-generation bow tie guy… although I suspect this 1949 studio portrait of my dad is the only time in his life he wore one.