Get thee to a library…

There is something interesting that I’ve noticed. Guys rarely come to the library.

I’ve notice that guys who come into the library before they retire mostly read only nonfiction. They will get books on how to improve their golf game or their business or their finances. If they read fiction at all it is science fiction.

Guys who are retired will get different things. They will take the time to get fiction. They will read Tom Clancy or other books with a lot of action. Or they will read westerns. Or mysteries. They are very predictable.

I never thought about how segregated books are until I saw an older man reading a Nora Roberts book. I thought it was odd, but then I thought good for him. At least he is reading what he wants to read instead of what society expects him to read.

Older women tend to read books in pastel covers. There is a couple on the cover and they are fully clothed, neck to ankles. The story is the same over and over. It is predicable, and the guy always gets the girl, but any action is just hinted at.

I read science fiction because I like to be surprised. The space ship and the aliens are just an excuse for really imaginative writing. I don’t want to read the same story over and over. I know it already. I want something new.

Girls who read science fiction are rare in our society. Black girls who read science fiction are really rare. Black girls who read science fiction are my kind of people. They are really not interested in the roles that society tries to give them. They think for themselves. They are different and aren’t afraid of being different. They often don’t relax their hair because that too is a social construct. They like being themselves, as they are.

Is it that certain types of people read certain books because they honestly like these books or because they don’t know what else to read? Or is it because they are afraid to step outside the lines? Are they afraid to do what they want to do, which may mean violating society’s expectations of them?

Reading can be an act of rebellion.

I think there is a lot of power in reading. I think that if you can read, and you like to read, that you can go anywhere and do anything. I think that encouraging children to read by taking them to the library is essential. Sure, let them get fun books so they equate reading with enjoyment. But also have them get educational books. They need to see books as a source for learning. They need to fill up on real nutrition rather than junk food. Let them read comic books, sure, but not a steady diet of it.

Children need to see their parents read too. Don’t just get books for them – get books for yourself. They have to see you reading to learn that reading is something that is part of being an adult. It isn’t just something you do for a class. It isn’t a chore. Reading is for fun, and it is for life.

I want kids to look forward to reading, and not think that they “have to” read this book, but that they “get to” read this book. There is a huge difference.

Change the world for the better. Go to the library. Get some books. Read. Repeat.

The mind you save will be your own.

Mediocrity at work.

What is the point of showing up on time at work? So many of my coworkers don’t. Five minutes is usual for several. Fifteen is normal for one. Not even a “my car wouldn’t start” or “sorry”. Every day. Every week. Late is normal.

Why do I get upset about it? Maybe I should start showing up late, but I wasn’t raised that way. It seems like cheating. If we are paid to work 40 hours, I think we should at least be here 40 hours.

But then there are plenty of people who just show up for 40 hours and don’t actually do anything.

Government jobs aren’t like private sector jobs. It is hard to get fired. It is more likely that low performing people will get transferred rather than fired. They will get shuffled off another department or another division.

I had a coworker who was amazingly inept. I have never ever encountered someone who worked as slowly and as badly. He took twice as long to do half as much work, and he screwed that half up. I and others constantly had to fix his mistakes.

Because we are civil service, we would have to be taken to court to be fired. This is good in a way – it means we can’t lose our jobs the moment a new Mayor or Governor gets elected. Sometimes it is dangerous to root for the wrong political party.

But it also means that if you have an employee who is doing very badly, he gets to keep his job. It also means that if you have an employee who is doing very well, he won’t get a raise. It cuts both ways. Mediocrity is encouraged.

There is no incentive to do well. There is no incentive to train or learn more. There is no incentive to do anything more than the average. You’ll get paid the same as the slacker.

OCD prayer life

The more you try to do God’s job the more you miss out on miracles.

We constantly try to get God to do what we want. We want a miracle or a deal or a way out. We want our way, just like toddlers.

We are OCD about our prayer life. If we are waiting for test results we will think that if we see good omens then we will get good results. If this color car passes all will be well. If this person calls, all will be well.

It will be what it is. Praying won’t change the results. You either are or are not OK.

It is like praying for a certain gender of a baby after the woman is pregnant. Then it is too late. The gender is already a given.

It is like seeing smoke and fire on your block as you are driving home and praying that the house on fire isn’t yours. Too late. There is a house on fire. It isn’t going to suddenly stop being on fire if it is yours because you prayed about it.

You are only setting yourself up for disappointment this way. You are only going to start thinking of God as a mean God.

It is better to pray before the need. It is better to be in a constant state of prayer. Part of praying is communication with God, but part of it is also learning to accept that God is always on charge.

It is best that we don’t always get our way. We don’t have the big picture. We can’t see the future and the strands of life and how they intertwine. God sees this and more. God knows what is going to happen and what is best.

So pray, but be aware that prayer changes you, not God.

One way to pray is this: “I will to will Thy will, O Lord”