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  • Dr. Ted Klontz

Random Thoughts June 2024

Ted Reads Random Thoughts 6-8-24

What is the opposite of ‘stand-up comedy?’


A scene on TV this morning reminded me of how as John Gotti walked to his trial he was surrounded by adoring mobs of people.  Al Capone too. 


This quote grabbed me. It helps me understand what is happening now as I watch my world.  John Steinbeck once wrote, “It isn’t that evil ever wins; it never does, it is just that it never dies.”  I really wish that were true.  In my experience, evil often wins.  In big ways.  In celebrated ways.


A friend of mine said, “I did some financial planning, and it looks like I can retire at 62 and live comfortably for 11 minutes.”  I laughed (as he intended) and then felt sad at how true that is turning out to be for so many these days.


As I was taking my shower last night, I remembered that innumerable people died of thirst earlier in the day.  I quickly finished my shower.  Truth and reality often bring me up short and chasten me to remember just how privileged a human being I am, and the responsibilities that come along with that.


I was looking through the menu at our favorite Chinese restaurant when I ran across a section entitled “Healthy Dishes.”  What does that mean about the other five pages of options that preceded that one?  (I know that answer.) And it is probably no mistake that it was the six and final page of the menu. 


There are real-estate agents, attorneys, and companies.  I was wondering if there are unreal estate agents, attorneys, and companies out there somewhere, pretending to be real?  My sarcasm wanders in the room as I ask that question.  I’ve known mostly real ones.  Thankfully.     

I wonder why a person will say, “Bless You” when I sneeze, and yet say nothing of the kind when I cough?  I’ve been told the “why people say bless you when others sneeze” story, but no one has ever explained to me why something like that isn’t said when I cough.  


We use gestures to explain what we want to get across because words are so inefficient.  Emails and texting are even worse, that is why we needed to create emojis.  If I want to ruin a good relationship, all I need to do is try to share something important about the relationship by text.  Unless it is “I love you.”  Even then, I feel the need to add an emoji to empower those words.  


America, expressed by Czeslaw Milosz, a gentleman who knew a thing or two about different cultures and countries, said of the USA, “What splendor! What poverty! What humanity! What inhumanity! What mutual good will! What individual isolation! What loyalty to the ideal! What hypocrisy! What a triumph of conscience! What perversity!”  I am reminded that I am the very same.  Everything.  I am reminded that as a country, the USA is also. Why do so many fight so much against that reality?  To the point that we want to keep those truths from our kids.     



A friend suggested that in a particular circumstance, he described certain behaviors of his, as a result of having his head up his butt.  (he didn’t use that word).   I told him I could relate to having those moments myself.  When I have my head there, all I can see is my own crap, but often, instead of admitting that to myself or you, I’ll suggest that it is your stuff that I am seeing, smelling, tasting.  Psychology calls it projection.  I will forever have a different picture come to mind now when I hear the word, “projection.”     


Do Nylons still run after all these years?  If so, I wonder what the world record is for that.  Where do they run to?  Finish line the trash can?


I heard an old cowboy say (of the land he lived on) “My eyes never get full.”  I feel the same way about the places and people I love the most. 


Standing with that same cowboy, in the middle of a vast unspoiled 360 degree, deep green grassy plain reaching about as far as one might be able to see, with a range of mountains surrounding it all.   No signs of human habitation.  I was captured by the idyllic scene and told the farmer who owned that land, just how amazingly beautiful it was.  After a few seconds, he, while scanning the same scene, said stoically, “You can’t eat beauty.”


We were up in the mountains when she asked, “Is it cloudy, or is it fog?”  “It depends on our perspective,” I said.  If we are above it or below it, it’s a cloud.  When we are in the middle of it, it’s fog.  That exchange reminded me that things are pretty much as I make them up to be.  My perspective or point of view, determines what I “see.” Science has now confirmed that we don’t see what is actually before us, but rather what we expect to see.  Not our fault, that’s what our brain does.  Our brain, is lazy, wrong, and efficient in many ways.


I overheard the following exchange between a father and his young son.  Dad: “What would you like for your birthday?”  Son, about 6, innocently began rattling off a list of things he would like as gifts.  The father interrupted, and mockingly said, “DREAM ON!!!!,” and then laughed and shook his head side-to-side. 


I was left wondering, and sad, what the unintended costs were in that exchange.  I actually don’t wonder.  I saw a couple of them.  First the look on the young face, the second was the punch in the gut I felt, as I saw him look down and shut up.  His father, probably noticing what had happened, asked him again.  The little boy just shook his head, said ‘nothing,” and walked away.  

I believe there are long-term implications and consequences in exchanges like that.  I see them played out in any number of indirect, destructive ways every day.  I know how that feels.  I am reminded to honor, not laugh at another’s dreams.   


I hope he keeps dreaming and finds someplace safe to share them.  Someplace where people won’t laugh at him when he might speak of his dreams.   


Speaking of dreams, I’ve had some about WWII recently.  A couple of them turned into nightmares I am glad to have been able to awaken from.  Mostly about the character traits of the man who started it all in Europe.  Déjà vu?  Perhaps.


“Turn right just before you get to the Hitzman funeral home.”  The preceding represents directions to getting to a friend’s house.  Sounds like generally good advice for life.  Advice that I’ve been able to heed so far.  By the way, the name made me wonder.  “Hitzman.” Is that a marketing problem?  Or do those in that area notice? 


I grew up with a friend whose parents’ business was running a funeral home.  His name, Danny.  Last name, Doom.  The name of their business was the “Doom Memorial Home.”  By the way, he had one of the best places to play basketball out behind the main building.  I spent a lot of time there as a kid.


That ironic, iconic business made it into Ripley’s Believe it or Not book at one time.   I think it was because two people were killed there when demolishing the building.


There is a periodical named “Funny Times: that I subscribe to.  One of the sections I like the most is “News of the Weird.”  Fits me like a glove.  The above story would be one of the entries.


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