Your Fault
Off the Wall, July 7

How many times have you done things and then turned around and blamed others when things didn’t go the way you had planned? Maybe someone had planned to take you to the Farmers’ and Vendors’ Market on a particular Tuesday because you had your mindset to buy certain items and the person who was to drive you there never showed up. You began to churn inside causing you to get upset.

Why? The answer is rather easy. You had a mindset that was based around one word – expectation. Did the other person get all bent out of shape emotionally as much as you did? Probably not. If he or she felt as you did, you would have received a phone call, most likely.

When it comes right down to it, other persons don’t think like we do. A matter of fact, we all have our own ideas how life should be conducted around us.

Think about it. Everything we do is built around that word. From the moment we open our eyes in the morning to the time we close them to retire for the evening, every move we make, we are expecting something to happen as a result of our initiatives.

The Cutalucci family was anticipating Aunt Loni to come and stay for a few days. Not knowing what she enjoyed to eat, they went to the market and bought all kinds of food, even beverages they wouldn’t think of buying. Everyone was happy to see her when she arrived. When the family sat down to eat, Brian Cutalucci offered her a soda cooled to perfection. Loni turned up her nose and stated, “I’d never touch that stuff in a 100 years.”

Was that the proper approach? I don’t think so. What Brian expected and what answer he received was quite different. Brian was probably bummed at her answer. Loni never gave it a further thought.

What happened here is commonplace in our everyday lives. We set ourselves up only to be let down. When we exclaim to others, “Hey, that was your fault that you ran out of gas,” it wasn’t others doings, but our own stupidity whereby we allowed ourselves to think conclusively that the outcome would be different than reality.

We all know that stress is the number one killer of individuals. Why? Because we invent expectations and then we then try to push ourselves to the ultimate level to see how far we can go to carry out what we have outlined must be done.

I keep writing these columns because I love to write. Am I as good at it as when I worked for the newspaper back when I started close to 50 years ago? I don’t know, probably not, but to me, it’s the probably the best way to relax.

By the time this column appears, I hope to have published my second book. It’s called Peeveetry In Form of Verseity, From the Sublime to the Ridiculous. Published by Bookbaby, it consists of my daughter’s poems that she wrote in grade school, my mother’s that she wrote while bedridden during her last 25 years of her life and my own compositions of verse, some very serious and others, totally off the wall!

Do I expect to people to be standing in line to buy the book? Anyone who knows me has that question answered already. It would be nice if the book would sell, but I don’t expect a stampede of individuals pushing down the doors at various bookstores just to get the latest edition of this family-oriented tabloid.

I didn’t plan to talk about it, but it does fall into what I’m trying to explain. When I sit in my room and stare out the window, various things come to my mind. Sometimes, they are poetic in verse, and other times thoughts that lead to columns. I never know what to expect before I pounce down on my chair. What happens after that just happens.

Here are some suggestions. First, never expect anything. If you don’t get what you hoped for, one may misdirect blame. If someone gives you a gift in person thank him for it. On the other hand, if you receive a gift that you didn’t ask for, it’s yours to keep. No thank you is required. Sometimes bridal gifts are given with expectations of getting a card of thanks. Did the recipients ask for the gifts? It’s traditional in our society to express gratitude.

- Paul J. Volkmann
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To buy my book, Off the Wall Favorites, call me at 724-539-1951.