by Elizabeth T. Andrews
American Reporter Correspondent
December 3, 2007
ATTITUDE IS EVERYTHING
CARTERSVILLE, Ga. -- Two women looked out from behind the bars. One washed the windows. One hung the stars.
Yes, I know. I modified that great old maxim to suit my personal druthers - as in, I'd druther say it this way.
And, yes, I know I should be addressing matters of grave planetary concern like the loss to our nation now that the bigoted Senator Trent Lott is retiring. Golly. Gee. That's a real downer.
But my point is not about druthers, or polluted politicians, but about attitude - about washing windows and bitching because "this cleaner leaves streaks" or building our own ladder, climbing skyward, hanging a few stars, falling off the dang ladder, getting up, brushing off the cloud-cling, going back up the ladder and doing it all over again.
I recently took the city bus somewhere and taped to the ceiling to the right of the driver was a sign which read "Attitude Is Everything." And, granted, said sign won't rank right up there with "Blessed are the seasoned poets, for they shall see rainbows where others see only rain," but it is a powerful adage if we can ingest it.
Attitude is everything.
Would you like to know how many years, how many moments of self-induced suffering, how many buck-passing tactics it took for me to see the personal power in that tad of truth? And would you allow me to maybe, just maybe, spare you at least one climb up the ladder of attitude awareness by holding out a few freeing facts to you?
Perhaps, first, we should separate 'facts' from opinions.
It is my opinion that the adage "attitude is everything" is a fact that can be proven over and over by individuals courageous enough to claim their own buck-passing, woe-is-me attitudes.
It is my opinion that President George W. Bush is mentally challenged, and there are seven years of "facts" to support my opinion. Fact No. 1 is simple: One does not hop all over the planet on one leg while the foot of the other leg is in one's mouth without some six-year-old concluding "There goes somebody who is mentally challenged."
It is probably your opinion that smart-mouth female columnists ought to be banned to the backwoods of Siberia. That is an opinion, not a fact.
I don't, of course, get to speak for you but I can give you some real, hard facts about personal attitude, and the mental zing one gets when we admit we are totally responsible for how we react to any/all stimuli from presidential elections to our "Why does this always happen to me?" after a gnat dares to dart into our best eye.
What's that you say? You don't have any attitude problems? Well, OK. Let's romp on the people in your personal circle of family and friends.
Take, for example, your Aunt Wendy, the family's best whiner. Aunt Wendy, according to Aunt Wendy, has had a rough life. Nobody knows the sorrows she's had. It's not bad enough that "he" dared die first and all he left her was a paid-for house, a measly $75,000 life insurance policy. Why, just last week she saw on tv that headaches are often caused by brain tumors and she has one - a headache - "most every day," and "Y'all will believe me when I drop dead from a brain tumor."
Whining: A misery attitude that implies somebody should fix our headaches, sooth our suffering souls. A whiny, childish conviction all suffering is from the outside in and not the other way 'round.
Buck-passing: The inability to realize, and refusal to claim, that the way we handle any given situation is entirely under our control.
It is his mama's fault that your Uncle Robert drinks. Or it might be because his wife is a nag that doesn't appreciate anything he does. And his kids are as bad as she is. And his boss thinks he is better than the men who make him rich. And he knows darn good 'n' well that moron of a neighbor poisoned his blue-tick hound just fer gettin' in his garbage. Even an idiot knows a dog's gonna get in the trash can ever once in awhile.
Attitude: Cursing the gnats and not claiming the camels.
I know a self-deluded creature - these are facts - who thinks she is a Yankee queen and the rest of her neighbors are backward Southern pig-sty slop. She also has an almost incessant need for public attention.
I tried befriending, tolerating, ignoring. Seeking solutions, I tried her family members, a few professionals, and the numerous churches she keeps at her beck and call. I tried unclenching my teeth while contemplating my navel and whistling "Dixie." I repeatied to myself, "Love thy neighbor ... Love thy neighbor."
Finally, I adjusted my attitude of rather pompous, self-righteous tolerance; got my blood pressure under control; concluded I had a right to peace and quiet; and took action accordingly. Peace now reigns.
My point is simply that "attitude" does not mean trying to pretend the world outside ourselves does not exist ... or that it does exist but we are just going to smile stupidly while chanting "Ommmm" and ignore it.
Positive, or negative, actions stem from attitude whether it is in the way we handle family and friends, the next-door neighbor or presidents with low IQs. And the power-surge reward comes when we claim our own monkey manure, see why we keep stepping in it, what caused us to step in it in the first place, and how we can avoid stepping in it in the future.
I would like to chat with you further but some blockhead is knocking on my front door and I'll bet you a Confederate dollar it is one of them pamphlet-pushing, pompous religious fruitcakes that come through my village about once a week.
Boy, am I gonna tell them a thang or two.
AR Correspondent Elizabeth T. Andrews is based in Cartersville, Ga. Her Website features her columns and poetry. Write her at email@example.com, or at P.O. Box 816, Cartersville, GA 30120.