TBT Recollections of a High School Counselor: We Can Work It Out

“Humanity is a parade of fools, and I am at the front of it, twirling a baton.”  DEAN KOONTZ, 

I was driving into work Friday morning listening to the idle chatter of some garrulous   K-EARTH Dee Jay who rambled on and on about Madonna’s performance at Staples Center the previous week. After what seemed like a ka-zillion compliments to the ‘material girl’,  he finally  got back to the playlist. I fully expected some old Madonna tune and was making ready to switch stations when I was pleasantly surprised to hear the gentle refrains of an old Beatles tune instead. I pulled my hand away from the radio and listened to “We Can Work it Out.” Great tune.

  The song was released back in October of 65. I was just  14, a very naive 14, and just beginning my freshmen year at Bishop Amat High School. It’s hard to believe its been 47 years! Damn,where does all the time go? The Beatles were the phenomenon of the age! They had taken America by storm and changed the music world forever. I’ve always said that I grew up with the Beatles and I did. Many of my hopes, beliefs, and expectations about life and love were born of Beatles lyrics. Yeah, Lennon and McCartney were my personal life gurus. They had the maharishi, I had them. They were great mentors. As I drove on listening, I couldn’t help but think about the relevancy of their song’s lyrics.

Try to see it my way,
Do I have to keep on talking till I can’t go on?
While you see it your way,
Run the risk of knowing that our love may soon be gone.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.
Think of what you’re saying.
You can get it wrong and still you think that it’s all right.
Think of what I’m saying,
We can work it out and get it straight, or say good night.
We can work it out,
We can work it out.

Life is very short, and there’s no time
For fussing and fighting, my friend.
I have always thought that it’s a crime,
So I will ask you once again

Try to see it my way,
Only time will tell if I am right or I am wrong.
While you see it your way
There’s a chance that we might fall apart before too long.
We can work it out,
We can work it out… 

Still as eloquent and meaningful in today’s hi tech world as it was back in the 60’s wouldn’t you say?  Yeah, The Beatles were my guru’s, they taught me so much.

After the song was over I continued thinking about the lyrics, particularly the line  “Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friend.” No truer words have been spoken  Whether about friendship or about a love relationship, each and every moment of our lives is a precious gift from god and far too valuable to be wasted away on petty bickering, arguments, disagreements, anger, outrage,brooding or resentment. Unfortunately most of us don’t learn this valuable life lesson until we’re much older and have already wasted far too much time protecting our precious, fragile eggshell feelings and ideals.

And suddenly, as I sat there waiting for the signal to change at the intersection of Gladstone and Grand Ave it hit me right between the ears! I’m such a fool! A major fool! I’ve got a great life, a great wife and three incredible kids. Yet how much valuable time and energy have I wasted arguing and brooding over things that just don’t matter when I should have been enjoying my time with them instead? How often have I let my foolish pride get the better of me and fought with them over things that in the big scheme of things just aren’t really that important?  Too much and too often.

Life is very short and there’s no time for all the bullshit.  I’m a fool for allowing myself to get caught up in it. From this day forward I plan on working things out calmly and compassionately. I often tease my wife about things being all about her and that I forced to live in “Ray World.” I even have a little “Ray world” song that’s sung to tune from the old Slinky commercial. Believe me, sometimes it really feels that way. But as I thought about it I know there were countless times when it felt like she was living in “John’s World”. Yeah there was definitely a time when it was all about John.

Instead of stubbornly digging in and fighting to hold our own we should have been living in “Our World”, we should have left the world of ‘Self’ and focused on ‘We’, using patience, dialog, compromise, and understanding as our tools. Life could have been so much more! What a fool! A good friend once told me “Sometimes you have to eat a little crow to make things work out right.” It’s not always easy to do and can be hard to swallow, but I think I can do it as long as I can wash it down with a cold beer! But take it from me, don’t drink the beer until well after you’ve eaten crow!

If you find yourself getting upset or angry with your spouse, family member or a friend more often than you would like and value your relationship, sit down and discuss the situation, but remember the key is to stay calm, cool and collected. Stay in charge of your emotions, don’t let your emotions take charge of you! Yeah the Beatles were my life gurus, unfortunately much of what I learned from them got packed away in the back of my mind somewhere, and only in recent years has it’s message managed to begin seeping back into my life. Life is very short and there’s no time for fussing and fighting my friend… we can work it out…

Just Saying…

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