Man Plans, God Laughs

At the end of Rambo (the first one), after John Rambo has finished blasting and knifing everyone in the vicinity, he decides (perhaps not too surprisingly) not to hop on the army chopper that would bring him to civilization; but to return to the jungle.

“But…John…how will you live?” the amazed army guy asks him.

“Day to day,” Rambo says, before disappearing into the foliage.

Which is all very well if you’re in the jungle, but back here in civilization, you have to have short-term, long-term, and medium-term plans and goals and projects and deadlines– and they can be hard to keep track of.

Long term, I want to write a shelf-full of books and a stack of screenplays and a terabyte of blogs and an endless stream of newspaper columns, in an attempt to continue to give the world That Mack Daddy Feeling. Also, subtly, to pursue my secret agenda to (cue diabolical bwa-ha-ha-type laughter) change the world and bring it around to The Mack Daddy Point of View.

Mack knew from fairly early on I was a square peg, different. That in order for me and the world to be, as they say in the corporate world, “a good fit,” either I would have to change or the world would have to change.

And I ain’t changing’.

Long-term also, I hope to bring up my three boys to be fine upstanding citizens, gentlemen and ideally leaders of men who will steer our Ship of Folly in new directions; and be a good husband to my wife and keep her happy.

And be a good son to my own parents? Yee-ikes. Maybe they’ll just have to settle for me being as good a man as I can be, and that can be my contribution under the category “good son”?!?! Anyway, it’ll probably have to do for now.

Medium-term, I have to finish a book in record time; also to check that the choice of Grade 7 for my oldest kid was the right one, also to help him make the transition. And various other matters, including overseeing the assembly of a “soapbox racer,” a project which is threatening to require reassigning from the “medium term” to the “long range goals” category.

Short-term: Rambo-like, just get through the day. Groceries, baseball games, cat, dog, snakes, plants, cleaning supplies, what’s for dinner (fish, I’m thinking, for tonight)– with three kids and two careers, the list, the duty roster, is as long as your arm.

I’m not complaining. But when I think about it, sometimes I get a little…frightened. Anxious. And I throw up a prayer: “God, help me accomplish all the things I want to accomplish and still be a good father, good husband, good cook, and good person.”

God helps those who helps themselves, and I’m working my ass off. I have no ass! I worked it off long ago! I do nothing but work.

But still it’s hard not to drop the occasional thread. Forget a field trip, a birthday party. I totally spaced on a business-type lunch recently. I just didn’t show! I HATE it when people do that to me, but I did it to someone else!

From that moment on, I started writing ALL engagements in my calendar.

It’s good: really unclutters your thoughts. Write everything in the calendar so you can put it out of your mind and can focus on what’s important.

You always have to keep the big picture in mind; but you can put some of the mental bric-a-brac of the medium picture out of your cluttered coconut.

Then you can just live “day to day.” Which is really how it works no matter what you do. Each day is a microcosm of your life. Ladies and gentlemen, you have to make each one count!

Anyway…thus endeth today’s sermon. All I’m really trying to say is: maybe that musclebound meatball was onto something after all.