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By Michael B. Wright
Mettle: medl noun 1. A person’s ability to cope well with difficulties or to face a demanding situation in a spirited and resilient way. 2. The title of a Pink Floyd album (Meddle), considered by many to be their very best.
Our recent sojourn into abnormality via isolation and self-quarantine has taught us a great deal about ourselves and others, and about our true mettle and to what degree we do or do not have it. No doubt, many lessons have been learned.
My new-found mettle has presented me with this primary take-away: S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. I’m retired! My deadlines are few. Beside those of my editor, the majority of mine are self-imposed.
I qualify to be the bane of many people’s existence. I am both a punster AND a cheerful “morning person”. If I don’t set my alarm, I still usually wake up by 5:30 am. If I sleep in beyond seven, I feel like I’ve wasted the whole day. I have the entire day at my disposal, there’s no need to start early and streamline my day by multi-tasking in an attempt to get everything done before my wife wakes up. (she’s my “caregivee” and I just want to make life easier for her as she heals) I was not successful at multi-tasking (corpspeak for “too much on your plate”) on the job, nor have I grown successful at home. When I try, either I leave something unfinished, forget something altogether, or do something wrong.
S-L-O-W D-O-W-N. Only women are adept at multi-tasking.
Then, there’s walking. Now and then I find myself doing what I call “the Old Man Walk”. Not the slow-shuffle of Tim Conway’s Mr. Tudball. I’m referring to the fast walk with shorter steps. When I catch myself doing it, I stop and say (literally) “Stride out, Michael!” Then I take longer steps, and cover more ground as I S-L-O-W D-O-W-N.
Walking slower but with fierce determination makes one look pretty cool too (as long as you’re not dressed like a used car salesman wearing Haband trousers with a white belt to match your shoes).
I the mettle to try to live my life in the same way I cook my more successful meals – Slow and Low (heat). “If it’s too hot, get out of the kitchen, or wherever there’s pressure.”
Mike Wright can frequently be seen these days frying eggs on the sidewalks of South Lakeland, Florida. You can tell him how you want yours and place your order at firstname.lastname@example.org