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Vintage Dilbert August 23, 1993

Vintage Dilbert
August 23, 1993

One day I stopped to think about growing apples. I was munching a delicious, juicy apple and took a big bite. As a result I got an apple seed into my mouth. I spat it out into my hand, with the intention of throwing it away. But instead I looked at the apple seed. Really looked. It was dark brown, almost black. It’s shape reminded me of a candle flame. A little dark brown candle flame…

I realized I was holding an apple tree in the palm of my hand. A little seed with the potential to become a beautiful big tree; a tree that could grow thousands of apples in its lifetime. Thousands of apples, each containing several seeds, each capable of growing a new tree which again could produce thousands of apples. Why then the world wasn’t filled with apple trees?

It is a rule of nature that only a few of these seeds grow. Most never do or are destroyed early on in their growth.

And it came to my mind, it’s quite often so with people’s dreams. Wonderful ideas come to our minds but they die too soon – we don’t tend to the little saplings, we don’t protect them as we should. And then one day we wonder what happened to our dreams, why did they never come true?

I put the apple seed on the table and bent down to see how the light was reflected from it, this nature’s tiny wonder. I wondered when someone was seriously growing apples, how many times they had to try to get a seed to germinate? How much work did it require?

Maybe it was like with our dreams: the seeds of your dreams did not automatically grow. Like planting an apple tree. It might take many trys; like a hundred job applications to get that good job. You might send your manuscript out two hundred times before it was accepted. You might meet dozens of people until you meet the true friend.

But if you kept on sowing the seeds of your dream, one day you would succeed. And after that others would comment on how you were lucky to be successful – when in fact you probably failed more often than you would like to count. But you were good at failing – you learned, you adapted, and then with your new knowlegde you tried again. And again. And again. And one day success was yours.

I picked up the apple seed again – but instead of throwing it away I took an empty flower pot, poured some earth into it and planted the seed. Maybe one day it would grown into a proud tree. I’d never know if I didn’t try.

Some people think their best time in life is when they are young. Once they’ve hit the 40-mark, they begin to tell how it is of no use any more to start achieving new things.

I refuse to believe that. There are plenty of examples out there that prove you can achieve amazing things even in your mature years.

I love the little story of a woman who decided she wanted to go and study when she was in her forties. Her husband asked her. “Do you realize that if you start your studies now, you will be fifty when you graduate?” To which this admirable lady replied “Darling – I shall be fifty in any case.”

So go ahead and follow your dreams. Start today. No matter what they are, no matter what your age, and no matter what others think of it. It’s your life after all.

 

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Vintage Dilbert August 13, 2002

Vintage Dilbert
August 13, 2002

 

Today, I interviewed my grandmother for part of a research paper I’m working on for my Psychology class. When I asked her to define success in her own words, she said, “Success is when you look back at your life and the memories make you smile, not the money!”

 

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Dilbert.com August 4, 2004

Dilbert.com August 4, 2004

A group of frogs was traveling through the woods, and two of them fell into a deep pit.

All the other frogs gathered around the pit. When they saw how deep the pit was, they told the two frogs that they were as good as dead.

The two frogs ignored the comments and tried to jump out of the pit with all of their might.

The other frogs kept telling them to stop, that they were as good as dead.

Finally, one of the frogs took heed to what the other frogs were saying and gave up. He fell down and died.

The other frog continued to jump as hard as he could. Once again, the crowd of frogs yelled at him to stop the pain and just die.

He jumped even harder and finally made it out. When he got out, the other frogs said, “Did you not hear us?”

The frog explained to them that he was deaf. He thought they were encouraging him the entire time.

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Vintage Dilbert March 24, 2004

Vintage Dilbert
March 24, 2004

1. Today, I waited on an elderly couple. The way they looked at each other… you could see they were in love. When the husband mentioned that they were celebrating their anniversary, I smiled and said, “Let me guess. You two have been together forever.” They laughed and the wife said, “Actually, no, today is our fifth year anniversary. We both outlived our spouses and then life blessed us with one more shot at love.”

2. Today, I walked my daughter down the aisle. Ten years ago I pulled a fourteen year old boy out of his mom’s fire-engulfed SUV after a serious accident. Doctors initially said he would never walk again. My daughter came with me several times to visit him at the hospital. Then she started going on her own. Today, seeing him defy the odds and smile widely, standing on his own two feet at the altar as he placed a ring on my daughter’s finger.

3. Today, I operated on a little girl. She needed O- blood. We didn’t have any, but her twin brother has O- blood. I explained to him that it was a matter of life and death. He sat quietly for a moment, and then said goodbye to his parents. I didn’t think anything of it until after we took his blood and he asked, “So when will I die?” He thought he was giving his life for hers. Thankfully, they’ll both be fine.

4. Today, my dad is the best dad I could ask for. He’s a loving husband to my mom (always making her laugh), he’s been to every one of my soccer games since I was five (I’m seventeen now), and he provides for our family as a construction foreman. This morning when I was searching through my dad’s toolbox for a pair of pliers, I found a dirty folded up paper at the bottom. It was an old journal entry in my dad’s handwriting dated exactly one month before the day I was born. It reads, “I am eighteen years old, an alcoholic who is failing out of college, a past cutter, and a child abuse victim with a criminal record of auto theft. And next month, ‘teen father’ will be added to the list. But I swear I will make things right for my little girl. I will be the dad I never had.” And I don’t know how he did it, but he did it.

5. Today, due to Alzheimer’s and dementia, my grandfather usually can’t remember who my grandmother is when he wakes up in the morning. It bothered my grandmother a year ago when it first happened, but now she’s fully supportive of his condition. In fact, she plays a game every day in which she tries to get my grandfather to ask her to re-marry him before dinnertime. She hasn’t failed yet.

6. Today, I was sitting on a hotel balcony watching two lovers in the distance walk along the beach. From their body language, I could tell they were laughing and enjoying each other’s company. As they got closer, I realized they were my parents. My parents almost got divorced eight years ago.

7. Today, I told my eighteen year old grandson that nobody asked me to prom when I was in high school, so I didn’t attend. He showed up at my house this evening dressed in a tuxedo and took me as his date to his prom.

8. Today, my dad passed away from natural causes at the age of ninety-two. I found his body resting peacefully in the recliner in his bedroom. In his lap, facing upright, were three framed 8×10 photographs of my mom who passed away about 10 years ago. She was the love of his life, and apparently the last thing he wanted to see before he passed.

9.Today was the ten year anniversary of my dad’s passing. When I was a kid he used to hum a short melody to me as I was going to sleep. When I was eighteen, as he rested in his hospital bed fighting cancer, the roles were reversed and I hummed the melody to him. I haven’t heard that melody since, until last night. My fiancé and I were turned on our sides looking at each other in bed when he started humming it to me. His mom used to hum it to him when he was a kid.

10. Today, as I watched my seventy-year-old grandmother and grandfather being silly with each other and laughing in the kitchen, I felt like I got a short glimpse of what true love feels like. I hope I find it someday.

11. Today, my fiancé returned home from his last tour of duty overseas. Yesterday he was just my boyfriend, or so I thought. Almost a year ago, he mailed me a package. He told me I wasn’t allowed to open it until he got home in two weeks. But then his tour got extended for another eleven months. Today, when he got home, he told me to open the package, and just as I pulled the ring out of the box, he got down on one knee.

12. Today, I walked up to the door of my office (I’m a florist) at 7:00 AM to find a uniformed Army soldier standing out front waiting. He was on his way to the airport to go to Afghanistan for a year. He said, “I usually bring home a bouquet of flowers for my wife every Friday and I don’t want to let her down when I’m away.” He then placed an order for fifty-two Friday afternoon deliveries of flowers to his wife’s office and asked me to schedule one for each week until he returns. I gave him a 50% discount because it made my day to see something so sweet.

13. Today, my dad came to see me for the first time in six months since I told him I’m gay. When I opened the door he had tears in his eyes and he immediately gave me a huge hug and said, “I’m sorry, Jason. I love you.”

14. Today, my autistic little sister spoke her first word at the age of six – my name.

15. Today, my mother passed away after a long battle with cancer. My best friend lives 2,000 miles away and called to comfort me. While on the phone, he asked, “What would you do if I showed up at your house and gave you the biggest hug in the world?” “I would surely smile,” I replied. And then he rang my doorbell.

16. Today, as my ninety-one year old grandfather (a military doctor, war hero, and successful business owner) rested in his hospital bed, I asked him what his greatest life accomplishment was. He turned around, grabbed my grandmother’s hand, looked her in the eyes, and said, “Growing old with you.”

17. Today, as I was sleeping, I woke up to my daughter calling my name. I was sleeping in a sofa chair in her hospital room. I opened my eyes to her beautiful smile. My daughter has been in a coma for ninety-eight days.

18. Today, my grandmother and grandfather, who were both in their early nineties and married for seventy-two years, both died of natural causes approximately one hour apart from each other.

19. Today, at a jazz club in San Francisco I saw a man and woman enjoying a drink together. The woman was a dwarf and the man must have been six feet tall. Later in the evening they went out onto the dance floor. The man got down on his knees so they could slow dance together. They danced the rest of the night.

20. Today, on our tenth anniversary, she handed me a suicide note she wrote when she was 22, on the exact day we met. And she said, “For all these years I didn’t want you to know how foolish and unstable I was back when we met. But even though you didn’t know, you saved me. Thank you.”

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Vintage Dilbert March 15, 2005

Vintage Dilbert
March 15, 2005

My dad’s name was George Bullard. He was born in a rural area, right up in the northeast corner of Mississippi that most folks call British County and the locals just call paradise. My dad was about 50 when I was born, but I was very fortunate to have had him.

He raised and trained bird dogs his whole life. If the bird dog business got a little slow, he’d paint a house or two, but after he got up in his 60s, someone persuaded him to get into politics. He ran for the board of aldermen, and he was elected by a landslide. Everybody loved him.

His assignment was fire commissioner. Now, the only things the previous fire commissioners had done were go to meetings and make political decisions. My father liked to get involved, though, so he went to the telephone company and said, “Can’t y’all hook my telephone up with the one at the fire department?”

So they did, and every time the fire department telephone rang, our phone rang—one long, continuous ring until you picked it up—and then you didn’t talk; you just listened to see where the fire was so he could go. And he went to all the fires, day or night. He knew almost nothing about firefighting, but he knew how to encourage young men, so he’d go and encourage ’em.

I got involved because my father had almost stopped driving at night because of his age, and as a teenager with a driver’s license, I’d drive him at three o’clock in the morning.

After his few turns as board alderman, several people, myself included, persuaded him not to do that anymore. But when he left, he found that he missed the camaraderie he had formed with the firemen, and because the firemen and the police department were in the same building, he missed the policemen too. So he would just go down there to visit every now and again. And this being a small town, they worked out something which might not have been real legal, but they taught him how to operate the police radio, and anytime anybody wanted a day off or was sick, he’d go in and work an eight-hour shift.

But one day, he got to his job down at the police department, and he discovered, to his amazement, they had a prisoner!

I did say it was a small town. It was most unusual.

And that morning, he really didn’t have much to do. He’d wander back and talk to this young man, and when he went out for lunch, he brought a couple hamburgers back for him. Well, by one or two o’clock, he had made a decision about this young man, and he always trusted his instincts about people. He had decided that in spite of being long-haired—way down to here, which my father hated—he was a decent young man, so he’d see if he could help him.

He started to inquire of him, “Why are you still here? You seem like such a nice young man. Won’t anybody come get you out of jail?”

And the young man told him, “Well, I had a little too much to drink last night, and they arrested me for drunken disorder, and here I am.”

My dad said, “Well, what would it take to get you out?” And he said, “Well, I have to pay a two-hundred-dollar fine.” My dad said, “Well, why can’t your family pay the two-hundred-dollar fine?” He said, “Well, I think if I could talk to my father face-to-face, I could get the two hundred dollars from him, but I don’t know how he’s going to react to a collect call from the Boonville jail.”

My dad mulled this over a little while, and he said, “Well, do you think if I turned you loose, you could go find your father and get two hundred dollars and come back?”

I’m going to remind you that my father’s only duty was operating the police radio that talked back and forth with the cars.

So the young man said, “Well, see, I’m from Corinth, Mississippi, and that’s about 20 miles north. They impounded my car. I got no way up there.”

And my daddy said, “Well, is it a blue Chevrolet?” And he said, “Yes, sir.” And then my daddy said, “It’s parked out in the parking lot. I can probably find the keys.”

So he scrounges around in the desk drawers and finds the keys, and he not only releases the prisoner, over whom he has no authority, he gives him a getaway car.

Well, as the kid leaves, my father says, “Now, son, I believe if I could borrow two hundred dollars from my daddy, I’d borrow another five to get me a darn haircut.”

At about four o’clock, the policemen started coming back to change shifts, and as they came in, they check in on the prisoner. And they discovered, to their dismay, that they didn’t have one. And they said, “Mr. George, what happened to the prisoner?”

My daddy was busy doing his closing-up paperwork, and he said, “Oh, yeah. I turned him loose.”
And the police officer said, “You did what?”

“Turned him loose.”

“Mr. George, why did you do that?”

Daddy said, “Well, he just seemed like a nice young man, and he’ll be back in a little while with his two hundred dollars.”

And the police officer was kind of taken aback. He’d known my father all his life; my father was like a grandfather to most of those guys. The officer said, “OK, well, we’ll take care of this,” and he went back to the other policemen to try to figure out how they were gonna get out of this without my father losing his unofficial job, and one of them says, “Well, we ought to remind the chief that George Bullard helped get him elected.” But another of ’em said, “Oh, I got a better idea. Let’s just tear up the paperwork, and we’ll just pretend we never arrested that boy.”

Well, my father wouldn’t hear of it. He said, “Oh, no. I know that boy’s coming back. I know he is.”

And the police officer said, “How can you be so sure? You don’t even know him.”

And my father’s answer was simple: “He told me that he would.”

They waited around, and 4:30 came and five o’clock, and of course, no young man returned. And at about 5:15, they’re trying to get my dad to go home, ’cause his shift ended at five.
He’s kind of stoic, and he says,“No, I’m gonna wait around until he comes back.”

One of ’em observed, “Might be kind of a long wait.” But no, my dad didn’t get discouraged.
All of a sudden, the door opens, and the young man walks in—shaven, short hair—walks up to the counter, and they don’t even acknowledge him, ’cause they’re still mulling over what they’re gonna do to save my dad, and finally the young man says, “Excuse me; I’d like to pay my fine.” And that kind of got their attention, but they still didn’t recognize him, and one of ’em walked to the counter and said, “What fine is that you’re talking ’bout?”

He said, “Well, you guys arrested me last night—locked me up. I owe two hundred, and I’m here to pay it.” Started counting out 20-dollar bills. When he got to 200, the police didn’t say a word, but they wrote him out a receipt. They thanked him. The boy started to leave. When he got to the door to go out, he turned around and—almost as if he knew what the situation was like there in that office with my dad—said, “Oh, by the way, Mr. Bullard, I’m sorry I was late getting back, but I had to wait in the line at the barbershop.”

by Wanda Bullard
Vintage Dilbert March 7, 2007

Vintage Dilbert
March 7, 2007

At first I saw God as my observer, my judge, keeping track of the things I did wrong, so as to know whether I merited heaven or hell when I die. He was out there sort of like a president. I recognized his picture when I saw it, but I really didn’t know Him.

But later on, when I met God, it seemed as though life were rather like a bike ride, but it was a tandem bike, and I noticed that God was at the back, helping me pedal.

I don’t know when it was that He suggested that we change places, but life has not been the same since. When I had control I knew the way. It was rather boring, but predictable. It was the shortest distance between two points. But when He took the lead, He knew delightful long cuts, up mountains, and through rocky places at breakneck speeds. It was all I could do to hang on!

Even though it looked like madness, He said, “Pedal!” I worried and was anxious and asked, “Where are you taking me?” He laughed and didn’t answer, and I started to learn to trust. I forgot my boring life and entered into the adventure. And when I’d say, “I’m scared,” He’d lean back and touch my hand.

He took me to people with gifts that I needed; gifts of healing, acceptance and joy. They gave me gifts to take on my journey. And we were off again. He said, “give the gifts away; they’re extra baggage, too much weight.” So I did, to the people we met, and I found that in giving I received, and still our burden was light.

I did not trust Him, at first, in control of my life. I thought He’d wreck it; but He knows bike secrets, knows how to make it bend to take sharp corners, knows how to jump to clear high rocks, knows how to fly to shorten scary passages. And I am learning to shut up and pedal in the strangest places, and I’m beginning to enjoy the view and the cool breeze on my face with God as my delightful constant companion.

And when I’m sure I just can’t do anymore, He just smiles and says,

“Pedal!”

I hope you enjoyed this story as much as I have..... 
Remember, "Just Pedal" 
Explore the MS&D archives for more than 1000 additional stories...
 Take Care and God Bless :-) Kenny T
Author Unknown - 
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Vintage Dilbert March 3, 2003

Vintage Dilbert
March 3, 2003

 

To celebrate growing older, I once wrote the 42 lessons life taught me. It is the most requested column I’ve ever written.

My odometer rolled over to 90 in August, so here is the column once more:
1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short – enjoy it..

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Pay off your credit cards every month.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. Save for retirement starting with your first pay check.

9. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

10. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

11. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

12. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

13. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it…

14. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

15. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful. Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

16. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

17. It’s never too late to be happy. But it’s all up to you and no one else.

18. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

19. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

20. Over prepare, then go with the flow.

21. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

22. The most important sex organ is the brain.

23. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

24. Frame every so-called disaster with these words ‘In five years, will this matter?’

25. Always choose life.

26. Forgive but don’t forget.

27. What other people think of you is none of your business.

28. Time heals almost everything. Give time time.

29. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

30. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does..

31. Believe in miracles.

32. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

33. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

34. Your children get only one childhood.

35. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

36. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

37. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d grab ours back.

38. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have not what you need.

39. The best is yet to come…

40. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

41. Yield.

42. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.

Written by Regina Brett, 90 years old,
 Cleveland, Ohio 
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