Better Ideas in THE TANK

My wife and I are both very communicative – in other words we talk a lot – we; mainly me. She reckons most of the time she talks I’m not listening anyway.

I loved a little anecdote I read about that on Facebook the other day which said “The best person to tell all your secrets to is your Husband – he won’t tell anyone because he wasn’t listening in the first place” – oh, how terribly so true!

But on the rare occasion we are listening and it ends in an argument is because:

  1. We weren’t actually listening and misunderstood.
  2. Our wife was breaking the cardinal rule – “You can tell me what to do, or how to do it, but not both.”
  3. We actually don’t listen, don’t want to listen – we just want to give advice and fix the problem.34ef47b7011b1b758e89e1aa164b1220--social-networks-social-media-marketing
  4. It’s about the kids and we are on the wrong side (e.g. whoever’s side we are on – with the kids or against them, it is the wrong side!)
  5. It is about in-laws (see above point 4)
  6. One of their girlfriends (see above point 4 and 5)
  7. We are sharing ideas that have two different aspects:
    1. It is my idea and it is the best idea in the world
    2. It is your idea which is dumb and cost too much

It is the last point which I think is the most important. We all have about a million ideas a day – most we don’t share as the wife is sick of the next ‘sure thing get rich quick scheme’ – so you keep most of them to yourself – we do actually do a Google search and realise most of our brilliant ideas were discovered decades ago – but we live and dream in hope.

But…. maybe one of these ideas which can be about anything could be THE ONE. How do we get to talk about it and not end up in a “You shut up, No you shut up” never-ending time loop.

The answer is having THE TANK.

My wife and I love to drive and chat – the old adage, it is not the destination but the journey is true for us and we spend kilometre after kilometre discussing our lives, our families, our work and the danger subject of our ideas (which includes comments on existing situations, people, problems or plans). The kilometres would disappear as we chatted about everything – OR – each centimetre would seem like a kilometre for endless hours after the ‘ideas discussion’ degenerated into the argument about ….. well, most times, when you look back you can’t figure out what the argument was about.

So we invented THE TANK.tankhedt

Any idea, any comment, any criticism, and accolade can go in THE TANK.

It is a place where you put them all to ferment, to rest, to age, to mingle with other ideas and you see what happens. Okay, this doesn’t sound like the epiphany moment where all things are solved but it is the place where they can be.

My wife and I will often start a conversation with “Tank, Tank what about we……”

Initially it was a lot of training through the formalities before we have gotten to the “Tank, Tank” introduction which initially started out (tentatively) through various conversations such as:

“I am going to go out and start looking a new cars this afternoon…. just putting that in The Tank?”

 

“I’m think so-and-so is a bloody idiot the way they spoke to me and are wrong…. Just in The Tank – what do you thing…. in The Tank.”

 

“Hey, in The Tank, I was thinking…..”

In addition it was underpinned by a few rules (which we started with and they splashed into The Tank):

  1. Thou shall not judge – judging is the hand break to ideas
  2. Thou shall not comment on someone else’s idea until they ask you to – negative comments stifle ideas
  3. Thou shall not edit – be allowed to get it all out, tidy up later
  4. Thou shall not execute – no detail, go big and broad first; the doing is later
  5. Thou shall not worry – it hasn’t happened yet – its an idea
  6. Thou shall not look backwards – learn from the past but don’t relive it
  7. Thou shall not lose focus – stay focused on the problem (or if you are splashing out – splash out big!)
  8. Thou shall not sap energy – don’t be the Six-Percenter
  9. Write it down – a quick note saves the moment

It is amazing how conversations which were started with the wrong phrase, sentence, word, look which you can feel are increasing your blood pressure by the millisecond are flicked off in both the head and heart when it is concluded with “….. I just thought I’d put that in The Tank”

Okay, it sounds silly and we have all attempted the ‘password’ or ‘key phrase’ to avert relationship disaster which, in the moment when it was most needed and uttered, has actually been the trigger to degenerate the situation beyond what the password/key phrase was supposed to prevent!

However, The Tank is about ideas, solutions, wild suggestions, imagination, fantasy and WildIdeas_Mainimgthat itch that won’t go away, which a lot of the time you wouldn’t say allowed because of its absurdity – but, in The Tank they get time to rest, to grow, to mix with other ideas… of course a lot of things just drown in The Tank – but, sometimes, actually more often than you would image, that piece of gold, that synergy of ideas and thought, that win-win solution, gently (or sometimes popping like a submarine rescue buoy) rise to the surface.

I suppose it is the ‘business brainstorming model for couples’ where the end result is not free cakes, coffee and a 45 minute session of the Boss telling you what is going to happen, but about making your individual life, your relationship, not only more peaceful, but more productive and occasionally mind bogglingly creative.

Sometimes being a better man is in accepting that the questions you are asking yourself all the time, privately, in your head may find a place to live in The Tank – you just have to be prepared to dive in.

 

Better at Chick Flicks

I am a bit of a movie buff and have a rather man tendency to watch war movies, science fiction and anything that doesn’t involve a teenage love story, or for that matter any sort of love story – period movies set in old manors are also right out – animated moviesScreen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.00.26 AM are banned (I confess never having watched Frozen!).

My wonderful wife also loves movies, but, these mainly consist of the ‘chick flick’ genre – please kill me!

Just recently we have got Netflix.

In the furtherance of a happy marriage we have agreed that on some occasions we will have ‘the wife’s choice’ as the evening – or as we are retired, sometimes the afternoon movie.

On wife’s choice day I usually sit down with an internal moan (often not so internal) and fortify myself with some sort of alcoholic beverage to dull the pain of the impending love triangle, family tragedy or young love coming to maturity….

I might have got a few recent surprises….

NOTE:  I am NOT now nor will I ever be a chick flick devotee but sometimes…. just sometimes….

The other day we watched a movie called ‘Radio’ – yeah, I know, never heard of it.  To cut a nice story short it is almost not a chick flick as it is about sport and the adoption of a young local man by the team – bloody hell, I got a bit teary in the first 10 minutes and knew this was going to be a test of sarcasm – e.g. ‘that’s not very realistic’ ‘ people don’t really behave like that’ etc etc

However, those blurts of disgust never came as this story, this chick flick was actually a true story and constantly demonstrated being nice always beats not being nice – yeah it was a totally unrealistic chick flick with a happy ending – BUT, it was a true story and at the end (just to tear the final remnants of your heart our through your chest) they introduce you to the real people the movie was about….

Screen Shot 2017-07-18 at 9.01.04 AMWill I sit down and watch a chick flick versus something involving automatic weapons or laser canons…. unlikely.  But, just sometimes I may think that a movie about the human spirit can be watched without drinking spirits, change me just a little, for the better, and perhaps make me realise that there are a lot of better men, good men, out there that makes my continued quest to be a better man worth every teary tissue moment sitting next to my wonderful wife.

PS:  Okay I followed up ‘Radio’ with ‘Lion’ – but that’s another story about the terrible waste of using an entire box of tissues in an hour!

Better at Birthdays (20454 days)

Today is a funny day!

It is my Birthday which is 56 years ago, or more importantly 20,454 days.

Year One

                          Year One

Those are individual days where I got up (albeit the first few where I was as a helpless baby – because I was!), did stuff and then went to bed again….  that is a lot of 24 hour periods to do stuff.

The funny part is, that everyone of those days is now gone, forever.  They are in the past.  They can not be changed.

I have an App on my phone which counts days;  you can set various ‘count downs’ or ‘count froms’ to figure out the exact number of days to any point in time.  I was sitting there some time ago when I thought “I wonder how long I have left.”  I guesstimated that if I live to 85, I would be pretty happy with that.

So…..

10,765 days left

I have about half the days left that I have already lived.  A few years ago when I retired I did some similar maths. I worked out I spent about 14,000 days working (not counting days off and sickies!).

I have decided that Birthdays are great reminders, not of how many days we have spent on this earth, but working out how many days we may have left.  Also, the most important question, how we are going to spend them.  Who knows, I may have only 1 day left.  But, if I do, how will I spend it?

I have decided that I will not spend that ONE DAY worrying about the previous 20,454 – I can’t change them.  However, I can change the one I am living now; or if I am lucky the one I will live tomorrow.

Lots of people sent me Birthday wishes, for which I was really grateful.  It reminded me of all the good people I have known, all the good times I had, but, most of all it reminded me that they are still here, that we all have at least the rest of today, and if we are lucky tomorrow to enjoy.

Don’t all of us lament the fact that we have wasted a few days, perhaps a few years – but, why should that dictate tomorrow.  The old adage that the best indicator of future behaviour is past behaviour….  that’s just bullshit.  I refuse to have my life dictated by a past that can’t be changed. I will not allow it to dictate my future.  This is not bullshit, but complete bullshit!

Now!

I will spend the next 10,765 days doing the things that matter the most in my life.  Hopefully I will have a few more days than that.  It has nothing to do with money or possessions (remember, you never see a trailer on a hearse).  It has to do with knowing that this day, can actually be the best day of my life.

Life is really pretty simple.

Something to love, something worthwhile to do, something to look forward to…..

Happy Birthday to me, Happy Today to me, Happy Tomorrow to me!

Better at Dealing with Bullies (nail me to a Cross)

I haven’t got a real way in dealing better with bullies, but felt the need to write about them.

I suppose using the same methodology as ‘Dealing with Dickheads’ may work (click here to read my post Dealing with DickhScreen Shot 2017-04-17 at 8.59.38 AMeads) but bullies are a fairly different category – or are they.

The reason I was thinking about bullies, is that it is Easter Sunday and this is supposed to be a significant moment in the religious calendar – but why?  Is it significant because a man allegedly came back from the dead – or is it a better moment because bullies nailed him to a cross.  Or, is it a more significant moment because throughout history religions have been the biggest bullies.

What do bullies do – they pick on the weak.

What do religions do – they pick the weak and make them slaves….

I’m having problems deciding which is worse.  Is it better to get a quick punch in the face from a bully and hopefully move on – or get sent on a life long guilt trip and never move on.

I have been spending a few Sunday mornings with the Jehovahs Witnesses – they are very nice people.  I am fascinated by their contetion that the Bible is the ‘word’ of God and not the word of man.  I have read their stuff which apparently contains evidence.  Now being an old Detective, it would appear that their understanding of evidence differs from mine.  The evidence I see regarding the Bible is, that it is the worlds most popular book (I haven’t checked if the Harry Potter series knocked it off top spot – if it did, this would be a sadder indictment on humanity than slavery to the Bible) and it falls into a category of books that has changed humanity – for the better, sometimes I think not.

Is the Bible actually the greatest selling bully manual.  Thou shalt not, just about everything, and if thou doth do, thy arse will burn forever.  Not real up lifting stuff.  It has a few good bits and some reasonable instruction on how to get on with thy brother and thy sister (so long as thy brother doth not want to marry another brother) and about being kind to the little children.  But, aren’t these instructions the natural order of things, in that fundamentally, we want to look after each other.   Me, actually thinks not.

I recently read a book (not the Bible) called:

The Unthinkable: Who Survives When Disaster Strikes – and Why

I read this book as I was having a discussion with a mate about the apocalypse…. as per usual.  I said I didn’t believe all these apocalypse movies where the warlords would take over the world and it would be everyman, woman and child for themselves.  So, they said read this book – and I did.

It works out that in a survival situation, if it is ‘everyman for themselves’ the majority of survivors, 90 to 100%, will die.  Yet, in a survival situation where everybody works together, they look after the weak and vulnerable and share resources, between 90 and 100% will survive (for a great example of this read about Shackleton and his arctic expedition).

However, in over 90% of survival situations, it is everyman for themselves – it is almost certain that most will die – yet this is what we choose.

Perhaps human nature is not inherently good…..?

I have been a bully most of my life – mainly because my enemies have been so insipid.  Were are the ‘men’ of today, where are the true Statesmen (read my take on this – click here) where are the ‘saviours’ that get us all to work together so that most of us survive – I think the majority of them get nailed to crosses…

We cut down tall poppies, the virtuous, the good and the generous because we can, because to stand with them is hard, but to run off and look after ourselves is easy – even though by doing so we are almost ensuring our own death.

But of course I’m not one of those people, you are not one of those people….. it is them, or they, or anybody but us.  After all we always give to charity, always let that driver cut in front of us in traffic, let that person in front of us in line, volunteer our time to those that need it, support local causes, world causes, feed the hungry and shelter the homeless – of course we do all of these things.  Bullshit.  It is me for me and don’t get in my way, I’ll get angry, I’ll actually get cross and then nail you to it.

All sounds a bit bleak doesn’t it…. yet, we celebrate the story of a guy getting nailed to a cross and then coming back to life.  We eat some chocolate eggs to celebrate this, we have a few days off work, eat fish on the Friday and chocolate on the Sunday and all drive back home in maddening traffic on the Monday where we don’t let people in and think everybody on the road is an idiot except me.

On Tuesday we don’t think of the guy on the cross anymore, we feel the weight of the chocolate we ate more than the pain of a few nails through the hands.  We listen to the media (the Merchants of Misery) and they tell us the world is the same as before.

The bullies drop bombs on civilians, push over small children in playgrounds and film the entire thing for loading up to Youtube.

So after all that, I haven’t found a way to deal with bullies.  I haven’t found a way to deal with the church or religion.  I haven’t found a way to convince and atheist there is a God or  the believers to relinquish their faith.

Maybe being a better man sometimes is not about finding ways to fix things, but just accepting them.  Maybe the best way to deal with bullies is to ensure that you are not one.

 

Better at Laying the Blame on They

I just want to know who ‘they‘ are.

They are responsible for me being unhappy and I want it to stop.

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 14.05.07I have been thinking about the infamous they (no not the musical Band – great name for a ban by the way!) all week.

I went to a meeting and things were pretty bad in this particular organisation.  I found not only were they responsible, but they were the ones that said they would do it in the first place – now, we, have to put up with the fallout because they didnt do it.

We had to do something.  We called another meeting and told everyone to come along – preferably up in arms!  Remember, meetings are always a great alternative to actually coming up with a solution.  (click here for a guide to meetings).  And it is important that you come to important meetings ‘up in arms’ because then the solution is irrelevant as you got to be applaud , shocked and hopefully offended.

Yes, WE called a meeting, WE decided to take charge of our own destiny!

Screen Shot 2017-04-02 at 14.06.38They were not going to get away with this!!

They didn’t show up – only we showed up and had to try and figure out what they had done.  Every single person in the organisation was there, yet, they weren’t.  We tried to figure out what had gone wrong, where the money had gone, why there was no leadership, why there were no records…. but, they weren’t there:  we were all there, but we didnt have the answers – only they could answer these burning questions at to what went wrong.

It wasn’t MY fault, it wasn’t OUR fault, WE all did the right thing – they are to blame!

So WE decided to do the right thing and forget about the past and look to the future.  We were going to fix this.  We were going to do the right thing.  We even voted for it and it was unanimous!!!

So we all left the meeting, happy… knowing someone was going to fix it.

Better a Couple of Blokes Pashing…

I really don’t like getting into debates that I don’t think about much.
Screen Shot 2017-03-19 at 9.28.26 AM Don’t get me wrong, I am continuously up for an argument, but most of the time it is for my own enjoyment.

But, this morning I read OUR, yes our, immigration minister Peter Dutton  warned CEO’s to “stick to their knitting”, and said the Turnbull government “would not be bullied” into changing its stance on gay marriage.

Now normally if people ask me what I think of gay marriage, I say, I don’t.

What the fuck has it got to do with me.  Everyone I meet I immediately bring sexuality into the conversation so that I can disclose that I am heterosexual, plus, I find the debate… well…. distasteful.

Not because I think a couple of blokes pashing at the alter is distasteful, but, because if society is more worried about two of its’ members loving each other and wanting to spend their lives together than:

  • Our soldiers dying fighting wars over…. fuck knows what they are over.
  • Aboriginal communities living worse than 3rd world countries.
  • Hunger and kids dying in 3rd world countries.
  • Politicians salaries and honesty.
  • The debate on climate change.
  • The road toll.
  • Domestic violence.
  • etc etc etc etc

… if they are more worried about gay marriage than the list above (which is twice as long as this, no, make that 10 times longer than this) then we are all doomed.

I just don’t get it!  We are allowing, even legislating in favour of things that hurt our society – often hurt our souls unretrievable; yet, we won’t let a couple of people do something that I can’t see hurting anyone.

I’m not going to discuss divorce here – because most times everyone gets hurt some way or another in divorce – but, in a divorce (other than the disgrace of domestic violence) it is usually a civil (both figuratively and legally!) situation with the biggest argument is who gets the house and who gets to turn the kids against the other one.

But, gay marriage – what the fuck!  How can that hurt anyone.

I was chatting to a mate the other day (a bloody Catholic, so I pointed out he was a member of the worlds largest criminal organisation – in jest of course – please don’t sue me Pope Francis!) who I thought was a pretty open and accepting thinker.  He said he believed in gay marriage but (I love the ‘but’ at this point – and not in a gay way!) it should be a civil thing and have nothing to do with the church.  I thought a couple of things at this point:

  • Gay marriage in his view was okay, legally, just don’t tell God about it.
  • Who said he spoke for God, because he was.
  • It was nice that he didn’t take the normal church view of all gays go to hell – or maybe he did and the marriage thing was all a clever ploy so that at the Pearly Gates St Peter already had the documentation to send you straight to hell.
  • It was one of the lesbians we were drinking with turn to shout in the round and her and her partner (wife – well not yet – they had only been together 17 years – which is longer than any of my marriages!) they had wandered over to a booth and were now grinding each other in a mild pawn scene when alI wanted was a beer and to stop trying to convince a Catholic he was wrong.

It all became too much so I started talking about the footy.  Immediately the AFL Womens’ League was brought up so I went for a piss and never came back.

I write what I think here, I write what I want (it’s my blog!), I also try to write what I feel.

I feel, we should stop giving such a fuck, and endlessly debating, stuff that doesn’t hurt the world (your soul is another matter – and completely and rightfully a matter for yourself!) and is so unimportant in comparison to some of the stuff that is going on – but, our lives are drowning is trivial and bullshit.

Please don’t be offended GLTGBDXSH groups (I didn’t know the acronym.  I knew it started with Gay and Lesbian so I randomly pressed keys for the others as I don’t care enough about the acronym for me to even pop of this page and Google it) – it’s not that I don’t care about you, its that I don’t care enough about you in comparison to other things that could kill me tomorrow, or economically destroy me and our country, save a childs’ life, stop another domestic violence death, save a kid from dying in a gutter from drugs or being molested (probably by a Catholic)…..

Come on world, come on straight people, come on gay people (and all the other acronym people), come on Catholics (I withdraw that one – they’re not listening…) come on politicians – more important, come on community and Business leaders….. fucking concentrate, just for a moment on the things that matter.

I hope one day I can go to a proper gay wedding.  I have been to a few ‘pretend’ ones as the law says they are not real – but, do we need the law to say our love and commitment is not pretend – maybe, who knows, I know I don’t.  I know one thing, oppose gay marriage or march down the street in support, either way it doesn’t save one kids from starvation.

I do hope in the future I can go to a legal gay wedding; after all I’m a heterosexual male Australian and I’ll go anywhere for free beer.

PS:  I left the ‘stick to their knitting’ phrase alone in Dutton’s comments as it was just too much to tackle before my first beer of the day – anyone know where there’s a wedding today!

PPS:  This blog may contain a few typos and grammatical errors, but I just couldn’t care enough to proof read this more than once – I’d get my wife to do it, but she’s knitting me a jumper and i don’t want to interrupt her before she cooks my dinner.

 

 

 

Better Dancers – in Death, Thank God We Can’t Hear the Music

I haven’t written a post for a while as I have been busy – not with life, as that is always there, and always gets in the way.  I have been busy with a support group called the 801 Group.

It is a support group for Police in South Australia, their family, friends and colleagues who suffer from PTSD, stress, anxiety and depression.  I have written a few posts about it in the past.

The group started about 18 months ago with a few of us getting together and having a coffee and a chat.  We went into the wider world and started a Facebook Page which slowly grew although attendance at the meetings waxed and waned but rarely into double figures.

During those meetings we shared horrible, tragic, frightening stories; and we looked in each others eyes and knew we were, finally understood.  We supported each other, received a few phone calls from others (a lot actually, if you count Facebook personal messages) who just could not make it to the meetings.  Most couldn’t make it to the meetings because they were psychologically too damaged, to embarrassed or no one else knew they were suffering (many were taking annual leave instead of telling anyone of there battles).

I was one of the founders of the group and did it because I didn’t want any more cops to have nowhere to go.  I didn’t want anymore cops to suicide – if just hurt my heart too much (even when I didn’t know them).

Our little group (ignored by the South Australia Police who sent us a nice letter saying they acknowledged we existed but they had their own stuff – and the Police Association of South Australia who printed a letter from us in their Journal and then said they wouldn’t give us their ‘imprimatur’ – if I here that fucking word one more time I will scream – plus PASA had their own stuff, their own long game, wait and see we are talking to the Government….. blah, blah, fucking blah!)…. meanwhile our little group met and did what we could for each other.

Out little Facebook page wandered along, picking up a member or two – we actually celebrated a few days ago as we had reach 250 members…

Then it happened again.  A well liked, active, dedicated young cop killed himself.

I have to say it.  Every time, every-fucking-time, it happens, I cry.

I retired 5 months ago, it’s not my problem, I don’t want to go on a crusade, I don’t want to fight ‘city hall’, I want a peaceful life in the country…..

But….  I cry, every-fucking-time the blue ribbon appears on the Facebook page, every time I hear the story when they ring me (again!) about another Cop who ‘topped’ themselves, I cry.

We lost Sharynne Grant such a short time ago.

We lost Ashley Meeks a few days ago.

I think PASA and SAPOL lost their humanity a lot longer ago.

And now it begins.

The media (the fucking Merchants of Misery) go into a frenzy, not to report on a tragedy but to get an angle that no one else has, so they can sell it and get ratings, page clicks or sell papers…..

SAPOL takes the company line and have a really important ‘Commissioner’s Enquiry’ for a few months, form a new project team to do another project, introduce a new support scheme…..

PASA blames low numbers, they blame SAPOL, they blame the government (but not to much) they have a new enquiry, fuck that we’ll have a national enquiry; beat that little State SAPOL, we have the Police Federation of Australia – hear that…. National Enquiry mate, fucking National..!!!

And they dance and they talk, and they promise, and recommend, and sell and sell and sell.  And they sell that they understand and they will fix it and they are on our side….

And they sell the message, the party line, the government policy, the non-committal heartfelt sentiments of our caring leader – and they sell and they sell ……

And when the dust settles and the sales are over, we look and realise, the only thing that has been sold, is us – we have been sold out!

And a few days ago the blue ribbon started to appear again.  I cried before I even knew who it was even before I logged in – not again, not fucking again!

So I sat at my little desk, to check how the 801 Facebook page was going – how my mates were going, and thought I better get a meeting together (as they had stopped a few months ago because there wasn’t enough of us to organise them…), I flicked on the screen, logged on and found that 2700 people had joined our site in 48 hours.

Yes, 2700 (2953 total membership at its peak to be exact).

I cried.  I was overwhelmed.  I learned of Ashley Meeks (who I did know) and I thought of him now dead, seeing his mates rally.

But the rally was one of pain, of fucking heartbreak and the sadness that hurts your heart like nothing else.

And I read the posts and I cried, most of the time.

Hundreds, no thousands, in the Police family were pouring their hearts out, disclosing horror, upon horror, upon horror – some people had to leave the site (and I get it – I would be gone if I didn’t run it and have a few backing me up!) because it hurt them too much, or reminded them to much, just reading the stories.

And there was anger, and sadness and the loudest rally cry I had heard in the Police for years….. a call from the heart, a call to stop this horror….

….But, within the rally cry I started to notice something else, not from the rallying members, but from somewhere else….

I started hearing in the background, the faintest sound of music….. and slowly, but surely, the music got louder, until, at exactly the right cue, the fucking bullshit dancers (some were even marienettes this time – a nice twist!) appeared….  and started dancing the same old fucking dance again….

And I cried.

I shut down my Facebook page, I turned off my phone, said “Fuck ’em” and hugged my wife, who said “I love you, are you going to be okay”  and I said “Yeah, it was never me I was worried about” and she said “Yeah, I know”.

So, I wrote this.  On my blog – for me, for Ash and Sharynne – because even though I only personally knew one of them…. I miss both of them so badly…

I have heard the call for being positive, for not slagging SAPOL or PASA or the GOVERNMENT, for working collaboratively, for sitting around in bean bags and singing kumbaya and talking about our feelings…..

… and all the time I hear the music and see the dancers dancing ….

I’m going to bed.  Hopefully I won’t dream.