Monday, January 4, 2010

AV Press Column 01/04/2010

Antelope Valley Press
Edward Mooney, Jr.
January 4, 2010

Title: Here's a left handed "Happy New Year!"

"Edward, come to bed! It's after midnight!" Carrie whispered while standing in the doorway, wearing her light pink robe. I glanced up just long enough to notice her.

"I can't! Bill Warford is expecting my column in the morning and I'm stuck!" I replied while trying to adjust the little round band around the face of the watch on my left arm.

"So what are you stuck on?" Carrie replied with a huff.

"I want to write about 'New Year's Resolutions', but not about diets or being nice to your mother-in-law," I said as I pushed harder on the metal watch part. Darn, I thought, I don't even know the name of this part of the watch and I can't get it to work. It just won't turn!

"Well, you COULD be nicer to my mother." Carrie trailed off. I looked up and felt my eyes getting narrower.

"It's already been done. You don't understand. I want to give something to my readers that lies beneath all those things we resolve to do. I want to give them something that might change their lives." I pushed on my watch and scraped my finger; those little serrations bite!


"I've been standing here for five minutes and you've been obsessed with that watch. What in the world are you doing?" Carrie walked over and looked at my raw finger.

"The little doo-dad around the face, the movable part with the minute numbers on it, is slightly off. See, the triangle on the top is pointing to 2 minutes before 12!" I pointed. Carrie stared and shook her head.

"How long have you been fixated on that?" She asked in a tone of voice only a husband could fully understand.

"Carrie, I try and write and I see the triangle is a little off. I get distracted and have to fix it, but..." I pushed hard to the right on the metal band, but, once again, it would not move, "...I can't get it to straighten out." I let out a sigh.

"Well, have you tried just taking the watch off and writing without it?"

"Uh, well, um, yes, but I knew it was there. I couldn't just drop it." I felt a bit sheepish.

"How about writing your column about being less obsessive in 2010?" Carrie snickered.

"Funny. You just don't get it. I can't push it two 'ticks' to the right, and I can't figure out why. This stupid thing must be broken. I need a new watch."

"It keeps time fine, but the little triangle is two minutes off and you need a new watch? You're willing to spend money for that? It must be a 'righty' thing." Carrie loves to find any opportunity to push how superior lefties supposedly are. I decided to shoot back.

"Yeah, well, I've been trying to move it to the right, but let's check your lefty idea," I sarcastically grumbled as I pushed the metal band the opposite way. It moved.

Click. Click. I was stunned. No matter how hard I pushed to the right, it would not budge. But to the left, the metal band clicked nicely, one minute at a time. I clicked it 56 more times and the triangle was straight up on the 12.

"Close your mouth," Carrie said. I was in shock.

It was then that it dawned on me. So many times I absolutely, positively, completely know I am right, and I'm willing to sacrifice hours and dollars proving it (such as wanting to fix or buy a new watch), when all I needed was a new perspective. I shuddered when I wondered if I do this in other things and don't even realize it. I wasn't about to ask Carrie.

It was at that very moment that this column was born. This year, I resolve to consider that someone else's perspective could be the better one, even if it seems stupid or completely unthinkable to me at the time. Maybe my rigidity costs me in ways I've never noticed.

Won't you consider this idea? Happy New Year, Antelope Valley!

Thought for the YEAR: "For money you can have everything it is said. No that is not true. You can buy food, but not appetite; medicine, but not health; soft beds, but not sleep; knowledge but not intelligence; glitter, but not comfort; fun, but not pleasure; acquaintances, but not friendship; servants, but not faithfulness; grey hair, but not honor; quiet days, but not peace. The shell of all things you can get for money. But not the kernel. That cannot be had for money."

- Arne Garborg, writer (1851-1924)

Edward Mooney, Jr., a Palmdale author, is a teacher at Quartz Hill High School.

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