Do What You Love

Posted by on Jul 11, 2012 in Odditude | 0 comments

My grandfather believed in living a life of total joy — loving who you are; loving what you do.

He would often say, “Do what you love, and you’ll be known as a smart person. But sometimes, life doesn’t give you that opportunity. Then you must learn to love what you do, and you’ll be known as a wise person. But if you can do neither — if you can’t do what you love or learn to lvoe what you do — then do something else. Life is too precious to waste even a moment of it.”

In a World of Evens, You Have To Be ODD

Posted by on Jul 2, 2012 in Odditude | 0 comments

Looking back, I realize my grandfather’s strongest belief was that in a world of Evens, you had to be ODD.

To my grandfather, “ODD” was not a negative word — just the opposite. He understood that trying to be like everyone else was poison. He believed that he and I and everyone else on this planet was one of a kind. In order to live a happy life, you had to first be true to yourself. He would often say, “Look within you and discover your Wizard of ODD.

My grandfather and his belief in ODDITUDE gave him a lust for living that enveloped everyone around him. There was an honesty about him that made people feel excited about being alive. You wanted to be around my grandfather because, when you were, you felt better about life. You felt better about yourself.

We Are All Teachers

Posted by on Jun 22, 2012 in Odditude | 0 comments

We are all teachers all the time especially when we are around young minds. I learned that a number of years ago when my daughter was three. One morning, I planned on walking to the cleaners, which was just a block away. But when I reached the back porch, I saw that it was raining. My wife’s car was in the driveway, so I though I’d borrow it.

But I must have lost my mind momentarily, because I did not ask her permission first. I just presumed she wasn’t going anywhere in the next seventy-five seconds.

Sure enough, when I pulled back into the driveway, there was my wife standing on the back porch. Her arms were folded, and her foot was tapping. My three-year-old daughter was standing next to her. Her arms were folded. Her foot was tapping. As I got out of the car, my daughter said to me, “Daddy, did it ever occur to you to take your own damn car?”

My First Wizard of ODD

Posted by on Jun 18, 2012 in Odditude | 1 comment

I was lucky. I had wonderful parents. They had an agreement that they’d never go to bed mad at one another. Made it rather tough on us kids. Not easy talking to someone who hasn’t slept in fourteen years.

One of the nicest things about growing up in my house was that my grandfather lived with us. My grandfather was a teacher. He drove a bus for the city of Chicago, but he did that for the money. … He was really a teacher. The most vital lesson he ever taught me was the importance, the excitement, the beauty, the challenge of being ODD.

If it was your second time on the bus, my grandfather knew your name, the name of your husband or wife, your children, where you worked, and where you lived. He knew you. People would actually pass up other buses to get on his bus, because it was like a moving party. I’ve had people come up to me thirty years later and say, “I remember your grandfather. I used to ride on his bus. He was the highlight of my day.”

Wow. The highlight of my day. What a wonderful way to be remembered, and here’s a man with whom they’d spent only a few moments. How is it that he made such an impact on people? Because he was ODD. He believed that life is a gift, and, as a gift, it’s meant to be enjoyed and not just endured.

Mom Was Right…You Are Special.

Posted by on Jun 13, 2012 in Odditude | 0 comments

Well, you started out that way.

Each of us began life as a once-in-a-universe happening…totally unique…ODD.

But, over time, life has rubbed up against us, making many of us “Even.” Perhaps you have concluded that being ODD — being true to yourself — is somehow negative or an ideal that you should long ago have abandoned. Perhaps the idea of being ODD may even seem a little scary.

Throughout our lives, we are expected to do things by society’s standards. We are trained, early in life, how to think and how to fit in so that we may “succeed,” as it is defined by the rest of the world.

We are all born with ODDITUDE. But then, the vast majority of us allowed our families, schools, friends, coworkers, and playmates to blunt the sharp edge of our spirits until all the ODD had been smoothed away, and we are all flat and even.

As my grandfather often said to me, “ODD is when you are true to yourself. ‘Even’ is when you are ‘true’ to the wishes of others at the expense of yourself.”