Two Words
Off the Wall, March 30, 2017

Everyone can think of two words that pop up in conversations regularly. Sometimes they are followed by excuses and other times they are used in sentences and pass as fast as the statements are made.

The first of these is ‘going forward.’

Joe Hockenbeemer, from Fairlough, Alabama, was given the job to do something for his church. He actually became excited that he was given a responsibility that was of high importance and looked forward to carrying it out after church services ended one particular Sunday.

After the last hymn was sung, he gathered up all his belongings and raced to the adjoining building where he was to carry out his deed. Imagining his tasks as he quickly walked out the door, he pieced together in his mind how he was going to accomplish his goal.

When he flung open the door, he saw the project had already been assembled. Right away, Joe went into deep depression. Consequently, he took it very personally and said to himself, “Who would do such a thing to me.” He started to blame others. “Smitty should have known I can handle this,” was one of his comments. Putting things in the right perspective, especially coming out of church, he should have stated upon seeing that the work was done, “Hip-hip hooray, the project is completed,” and gone forward leaving the whole incident behind.

Joan Holowtsky from Mimicky Florida always tried to do her hair, wear her clothes and even talk like the other teens in her group. She fashioned purpled tinted hair strands mixed in with her black color hair that hung over her forehead into her eyes. Her jeans had holes in them from her knees to about eight inches down from her crouch. And her language was perfectly unacceptable and offensive, to say the least.

One day, Minnie Modwasksy, a friend of her family, approached her and said “Joannie,” (that was her nickname since childhood) "who are you trying to be, anyway? You’re not the same ‘girlsie’ (another name used in their growing up years) I knew eight years ago.”

“What’s the big deal?” Joan asked. “Why not be yourself rather than trying to fall into the pattern of someone who’s not you,” Minnie said. “I can’t,” Joan said. “It’s all peer pressure. If I don’t act a certain way, I’ll be a nerd and my friends won’t like me.”

“Try comprising at first,” Minnie said, “and then proceed as you see fit, and others may come to respect you more.” I think the words “respect oneself” would fall into this story.

Many of us who are up in years may remember the famous little book titled, The Little Engine That Could, written by Watty Piper. One particular phrase that came out of that book was, “I think I can, I think I can, I think I can…” The little engine proved its thought by achieving its goal.

But let me ask a question. How many people ever get beyond the word ‘think’? ‘Think’ is like having dreams. “I think one day, I going deer hunting in Potter County for a change.” “I think I’m going to build a playhouse in the back yard for the kids.” Or, “I think I’m going to give up drinking coffee.” How many thoughts of ‘thinks’ actually turn into actualities?

A lot of that process, I’m afraid, takes the path of the song by The Andrew Sisters, I Can Dream, Can’t I. That’s not to say that happens one-hundred per cent of the time. A lot of dreamers have come up with some pretty nifty inventions.

Rather than imagining “I think I can,” be more positive and commit to one’s meditations.

That brings me to my next ‘thought’- be positive. Don’t be a ‘mowper.’ That’s a Peeveeism (a Pee Vee made up word) for someone who hangs his head and lives in a ‘negative’ world. Folks that fall into this category are constant complainers.

I have a friend who thinks I am a ‘mowper’. We like to share psychological philosophies in the course of conversations. He tells me I am too much of a complainer. I like to collect the negative and work toward the positive, whereupon he likes to do the opposite. According to my thinking, we are both right. I’ll let it go at that.

My last two words speak for themselves – be honest. It always works out for the better. Being deceitful will eventually get one in trouble. Play it safe.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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