The blaring sound leapt under Jerry's skin and strangled him awake in an instant. His eyes popped open in terror and for a darkened moment he forgot where he was.
"Oh, Jeeze," he exclaimed in sudden realization-"the freekin' alarm."
He slammed his wrist on the snooze button and flopped back on the bed.
Nine minutes later the blare cried out again though the awareness came much quicker.Jerry smacked the clock and rolled his feet off the side and out from under the sheets.Slug-like, he dragged his sagging carcass into the bathroom and looked at the face that stared back at him in the mirror.
"Ugh," he muttered. "Nice breath," he added as he frowned and reached for a crusty toothbrush.
Only the growling in his paunch kept him from crawling once more beneath the covers, coupled with the painful knowledge that without a paycheck the cupboard would stand ever more bare and stay that way indefinitely.
"Life blows," he mumbled, scratching peanut butter onto the last nub of bread from a week-old loaf.
Throughout the day, as he most often did, Jerry ran the gamut of emotions, up, down, high, low, from the heavens to the depths, like a yo-yo.
His burst of creativity left him giddy only to morph into a morbid employment dread when the boss shot down his idea.
Jerry rode hard, dominated by one feeling after another, unable to separate or manage or compartmentalize-a black and white tango that left no room for gray.
Upon arrival at home, Jerry walked straight to the mailbox and stood in ritual, leafing through the daily arrivals.
"What?" he exclaimed, a sudden burst of exhilaration.
The envelope read U.S. Treasury across the top.
He ripped it open and began a disjointed funky chicken on the sidewalk.
"Pay to the order of ME-you know that's right," he grunted as he spied his income tax refund.
His bliss came to a jarring halt as he recognized the handwriting on an oversized card beneath the check.
She hadn't returned his calls in several days and though he had tried not to over-analyze, the sinking torment in his gut spoke volumes of his suspicions.
He tore the flap.
He sank to the ground, sat on his front lawn with his head in his hands, frozen.Numbness turned to anger turned to denial, to sorrow and into frustration, to a desire to regain numbness and a quest for his favorite bottle.The unexpected funds mattered little if at all.
Jerry found himself on the couch, alone, with no more company than his misery and his muse.
"Why does this always happen to me?" he questioned.
"Why can't I catch a break? Why can't I spend some time in cruise mode-live a normal space, mellow, stable, even keel-for at least a minute?"
He knew himself well enough not to expect an answer.
He had made this query many times before.
"Why can't I balance better? Why can't my pain and pleasure co-exist? Not like she hasn't discarded me before-why does the rejection so over-shadow my good fortune? Why don't I have any control?"
Still, he persisted, like a dog on a bone.
"If I'm me, then I need to accept me, feast or famine Jerry, the good and the bad, over the top to rock bottom-that's me."
A slight smile returned.
"Yup. That's me," he reassured himself. "In my sorrow, I'll find joy. In my hurt, I'll dig up some love. That's me, yo-yo Jerry."
He stopped nursing the bottle, set it on the coffee table and picked up the stack of mail, all except the card.
"Yup," he repeated. "Not bad, not bad."
He grinned and started laughing.
"Yeah, baby. Pay to the order of?"
That's A View From The Ridge?
About The Author
Author Ridgely Goldsborough invites you to subscribe to The Daily Column, a heart-felt collection of stories that inspire hope and courage. Please do so at www.aviewfromtheridge.com.
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A number of years ago I worked for one of the UK's top IT companies -- a global player. We were meeting to discuss a major bid, and the room was filled with people who didn't meet often -- the most senior managers from a number of divisions. There were very few middle tier managers in the room, almost exclusively senior managers who were accustomed to being 'top dog'. The atmosphere in that room was almost tangible. I wanted to bottle the air and analyse it later -- I had never experienced such naked power, and it dawned on me in that moment that we are almost blind to the status signals we transmit.
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What would you change if you knew you would be dead in 1 day? Would you spend more time at work, pouring over budget figures, and trying to figure out how you were going to make this quarter's numbers? Would you read just 1 more e-mail from a complaining co-worker? Would you check your voicemail one last time? What would your obituary say about your life?
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Purpose. What is purpose? Drinking coffee when you wake up and making a habit of drinking coffee only when you wake up? No. Trying to drink coffee when it's hot and trying conscientiously to make it a habit to swallow it hot? No. Blowing white, shivering steam off the surface and then, guttering it down immediately so that it'd fall lightly against the cylindrical walls of your gorge? No.
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This is a true story about a woman I worked with for several years.
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(excerpted from Leading an Inspired Life)
Direct Answers - Column for the week of March 17, 2003
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Many of us seek consolation in the words of Frank Sinatra, "I did it my way." I say many of us because I feel this trap has snared more than just me. Oh, it is a trap, alright, a way to defend our defiance, combat accountability, and excuse our own stupidity.
Random Thoughts on Living Your Best Life
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Once in a Lifetime
A subscriber recently wrote to me and asked me to consider this common phrase ? Once in a lifetime.
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Take Action and Make a Better World
Albert Einstein is quoted as having said, "the world is a dangerous place to live, not because of the people who are evil, but because of the people who don't do anything about it".
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