Save or savor and quit wallowing in the loophole

4 Apr

E. B. White once wrote:

“I arise each morning torn between a desire to save the world and a desire to savor the world. That makes it hard to plan the day.”

I also arise each morning feeling torn. Torn between a desire to get my ass up and do what must be done and a desire to crawl right back into bed, pull the covers over my head and say, ‘screw it all.’

Mr. White was a wise and accomplished man. He gave us Charlotte’s Web, Stuart Little and The Elements of Style. I am neither wise nor accomplished, just really sleepy.

There’s a lesson in there somewhere, I am sure.

I am reminded of the words of the great philosopher, Ferris Bueller: “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.”

I guess that’s why, as soon as his parents left for work, Ferris was out of his bed and looking for adventure.

There’s a lesson there too, I suspect.

Lessons. Life–always with the lessons. Life is a little school-marmish that way.

Which has nothing to do with the electronic cigarette, but e-cigarettes came up recently in conversation, and just now slid by my steam of consciousness, so I thought I’d detain that thought for a moment.

E-cigarettes are electronic devices that look like cigarettes.They run on a battery and give off a vapor which approximates the smoking experience, but without the tar and nicotine. I think that’s right. I am saying this off the top of my head.

I had to research this recently because we had an incident at work where someone was allegedly smoking e-cigarettes at their desk. We work in a non-smoking building, so we had to put a stop to that. Of course, there is a bit of a controversy around whether or not smoking an e-cigarette is the same as smoking tobacco from a second hand smoke perspective. I’m not going to get into all of that because I really don’t know what I am talking about.

Sometimes when I don’t know what I am talking about, I talk anyway. Sometimes I muster the good sense to keep my mouth shut or to simply say, “I don’t know.” This would be one of those times when I am going to choose the latter.

But isn’t it interested the way you have to keep up with new-fangled things all the time? Just when we think we’ve all got the rules pretty clear when it comes to smoking–where and when you are allowed to do it, etc.–some genius comes along with a new invention that nobody thought to anticipate when making the laws and rules related to smoking.

And you always have those people who insist on pushing the envelope. Like whoever if was who was smoking the e-cigarette at his or her desk. I didn’t engage this person in a discussion about it, but I know where that conversation would have lead: “There is nothing in the rules that forbids e-cigarettes! I can smoke this cutting edge device freely, because I have found a loophole!”

Some folks just love wallowing in a loop hole. Some folks need to crawl out of that loop hole and get back to work. Keep your eye on the prize. The prize is never the loophole.

I don’t have a strong opinion about the e-cigarette, but the loophole people get on my nerves. They can get pretty self righteous sometimes. I just want to say, “Hey, you’re not Gandhi here. This isn’t about making salt and freeing your people from the tyranny of the British. Now put your damn e-cigarette out and use it in the designated smoking areas only!”

Being in HR, I frequently get questions from people who want to know if this rule or that rule is in The Employee Handbook. If it isn’t in the handbook, does that mean it is OK? For example, there is nothing in our Employee Handbook forbidding an employee from installing a television is his or her cubicle and watching TV while he or she works. We have also failed to expressly forbid the bringing of large reptiles to work.

Does that mean it is OK to watch TV at your desk all day while cuddling with your iguana? I think not.

Is it just me, or are there some things you just shouldn’t have to spell out for people?

I don’t want to get into some old man rant about “work ethic” because, in truth, I’ve never had much of a work ethic myself (although I lie in job interviews and say I do)–but I have found that once I am employed, I have a warm spot in my heart for the paycheck. I am no rocket scientist, but I figured out early on, you have to keep the employer happy or they take the paycheck away. So, work ethic or no, I do my job. Or a reasonable approximation of my job. Some days I do it pretty darn well. Some days, eh–not so much. But it averages out.

One of the lessons I have most definitely learned in life–and a bit of advice I find myself giving people frequently–is you have to learn to choose your battles. People who don’t choose their battles get a reputation for being obstinate. No one likes an obstinate person. Unless it is Gandhi and he was obstinate for a higher cause than smoking an electronic cigarette inside of a smoke free building. Plus, someone shot him anyway.

Obstinate people often come to a bad end–just sayin’.

I return to the message of E.B. White–life breaks down to a choice between saving the world or savoring the world.

Maybe we’re moving back and forth between those two choices all the time. Maybe the key is to keep asking yourself, moment to moment, “Am I saving the world? Or am I savoring the world?” Maybe we should strive to always be doing one or the other, even if it does make it hard to plan the day.

Ferris was right. Life does move pretty fast. I have to step away from this stream of consciousness and move on with my day. I got some savoring to do.

Happy Wednesday.

2 Responses to “Save or savor and quit wallowing in the loophole”

  1. queenie~ April 4, 2012 at 6:57 am #

    hmmm….the loop hole of righteousness

    indignated laziness

    savor or save

    i cannot savor due to the
    worry of how much needs
    saving that i cannot accomplish

    the one star fish i tried to save
    died first

    enjoyed the read cat zen…

    cheers from beijing

    and ooo la la…

  2. Mary Atwood April 4, 2012 at 7:46 am #

    E. B. White also said “Be obscure clearly.” I kind of feel like that today. He also said “I don’t know which is more discouraging, literature or chickens.” Not sure what that means, but thought it was funny enough to be worth sharing!

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