Helping A Relationship


Here are eight things I think might help just about any relationship. I base them on my experience and not much more. Okay, so saying ‘any relationship’ might be a stretch but they are some pretty good ideas.

1. Don’t interrupt while busy. For me if I’m busy reading, writing, on-line or watching the last of a television show, it is hard for me to have a conversation and concentrate on what I am doing. By the time MY pee-brain figures out that the conversation is the more important of the two items I am usually frustrated.

2. Minor household chores can wait. Really! Come home, have a seat and relax a while. The trash can, full of garbage will still be there as will be the sink full of dishes and so will the dishwasher which needs either to be loaded or unloaded. Chances are you might even end up getting help with these chores. (See #3)

3. You don’t have to nag. It’s called partnership or joining in. It works like this: If you want someone to do something invite them to help you with it. Don’t tell them that it needs to be done and then walk away. Also accept the fact that some people are born- procrastinators. I tend to be one of these people at times, other times I’m just being lazy.

4. Turn off the cell-phone at dinner time. It used to be ‘no telephone calls at dinner time’ was the rule. Now we have to be reminded not to leave cell-phones on during dinner time. I can’t stand hearing them in church either. Allow me to add that the television should be turned off during dinner as well. This should help encourage conversation around the table.

5. Accept compliments gracefully. The last time I heard somebody accept a compliment gracefully; she was 90-years old. Most folks think that I’m pulling their leg when I’m paying them a compliment or they act as if they knew it all along. A simple ‘thank you’ and a smile are enough.

6. Household dust is natural occurrence. This is something that I miss every time I clean house; forgetting to dust. I think it comes from the fact that I grew up near the ocean and didn’t have to deal with it as a kid. Here in the high desert though dust reappears in less than 15 minutes after a good wiping-down.

7. TV remotes aren’t for men only. It’s taken me a long time to say this and I say it only because it is ‘residentially correct.’ My machismo says I should be in control and just like asking for directions I shouldn’t have too, so I will not explain any further.

8. Use the vehicle horn. The vehicle horn has three purposes. One is to be friendly as in saying, ‘hello’ to someone as you drive by them; the second to remind them to move should they become distracted while at a stoplight and the third; anger, for doing something stupid that puts you and your life in jeopardy of an accident.


The instructor could over hear the two trainees talking. “Yeah, they call him ‘Mad-Dog’,” the one said to the other. Tommy smiled to himself as he thought back on how he came to end up with the nickname. It was years ago.Tommy was seven years old when he had a peculiar mishap. He was playing in the schoolyard of Margaret Keating Elementary just before the first bell. It was a game of freeze tag. The base was the northeast corner where the water fountain was. Tommy was a pretty good runner and had a good jump on whoever was chasing him.

That morning he was getting ready for school. It was the 2nd grade and his teacher was Mrs. Newquist. She had a love of birds and was teaching them all about them. This included hatching chicken eggs and raising chickens.

Looking back on it, Tommy chuckled and said to himself “It seems pretty funny now, that she should want to hatch chickens in a classroom.” He knew that most of the children could go out in their own barnyards and watch them hatch without some fancy egg-hatching contraption.

But hatching chicken eggs and bird lessons were not the only science experiment she liked to do. She asked that each child bring a paper towel tube with a wrapping of aluminum foil around it. Tommy had that with himself when he caught old number six for school.

It was still recess and school had not started yet and the children were playing tag. Tommy made a fast dash for base. At base the person who was “it” could not tag anyone. It was a free place to catch your breath and get a cool drink of water from the white porcelain fountain.

Tommy started to reach out for the wall with its aluminum sheet splashguard when he tripped on the sidewalk edge. He lunged forward and struck face first into the wall. Tommy had the paper towel tube wrapped in aluminum foil in his mouth.

There was a sudden flash of white light. It lasted only half a second. Then, a burning in his mouth that he could not stand followed it. Tommy spit, thinking that would cool the fire. When he did, he saw it lying on the ground amid the dark, red puddle of blood. It was his tongue.

The young child’s instinct took over from there and he started to run towards the woods. “Fight or flight,” his Dad used to always say. Tommy was flying. Somehow though, he gathered his senses and turned back and started running toward the school.

The corridor was long with red clay linoleum. Tommy looked back behind himself and could not see his blood except where it reflected against the morning sun through the open double doors.

Mrs. Zweirlein was the first to see Tommy. One moment she was wrinkling her nose as she peered into his mouth. The next moment she was a woman of action. She was telling Tommy to put the ice cubes she had handed him into his mouth. He did not want to because it hurt so badly, but Tommy did as he was told.

Things were becoming a blur to Tommy as every teacher at Margaret Keating Elementary had to come down and look in his mouth. They needed to see it for themselves. “Yep, it’s cut off,” said Mr. Biggers, the school’s principal.

Tommy’s dad soon arrived and took him to the hospital. At the hospital, the doctor stretched the two ends together and then ran some wires through the gaps in Tommy’s teeth and into his tongue. Then he wired the boy’s mouth shut.

He stayed that way for several weeks. Tommy drank orange soda pop and ate chicken noodle soup. He did not get to go back to school during this time, though the teachers thoughtfully sent him home a lot of schoolwork.

Tommy shook his head at the memories as they flooded his head. He had been in a number of fights over the years because of the difficulties associated with the injury. He had been called “Tongue Tied” and “Slobber Puss” as a child. He had even been labeled “retarded” by the school district after several unsuccessful years of speech therapy. But the label like the nicknames went away as he grew up.

“I’ve never seen a bull-dog salivate as much as you do!”” the Commander said to Tommy. Then he added, “You’re new call sign is going to be ‘Mad-Dog’, son.” The Commander smiled, and then dismissed the younger man.

“Guess if I have to have a nickname, this one isn’t so bad,” Tommy said to himself. Then he added, “It’s better than Tongue-tied Tommy.”

He stood up from his desk and prepared to face the new trainees.