BATs and Backspaces

Greetings, dear readers. I have perhaps an odd question: Are there days when you look at some object or person or event that is impinging on you and think “I wish I could just delete that”? Just tap the old Cosmic Backspace and !blip! – Big Annoying Thing (BAT for short) is gone.

Aaaahhhhhh…  …      ….

Sorry. Got lost in thought for a moment.

delete button
Here’s something I’ve been learning: The desire to remove BATs from one’s cognizance isn’t about inflicting harm on persons, places, or things – it’s about removing pain and irritation. And the thing about pain and irritation… they’re responses. Meaning (uh oh) they’re not based out there, where the BAT is. They are based in the person feeling the pain and irritation. Sooo (here’s the bit that made me mad when I first heard it) in some sense, they are a choice.

Yeah – that was my response, too. Heck yeah, I “choose” to be upset when scores of people are killed and injured by someone with evil intent, or when I hear about mistreated children, or starving pets. Or when a legislative body does something that I am pretty sure is going to harm the people they are supposed to serve. That stuff is nasty and disgusting and irritating. It’s awful to me because of the things I value. And some part of me thinks it’s awful that those other people didn’t value those things, too. AND I’M MAD….. !!!!

Yup. Madder’n a wet hen. And, in that state, I am just about as effective as damp poultry  at changing any of the things that got me all stirred up.

I’ve finally decided that setting off linguistic fireworks every time I get annoyed isn’t helping. It actually makes things worse to get wound up about things, send off a big round of clatter into an echo chamber, and then sit around listening to the reverb. Nothing changes and the noise just gets louder.

So here’s the deal: I only have so much time and so much energy. So do you. Let’s spend them for good. Shouting and railing against injustice might get a lot of people stirred up – but it’s not the stirring up that changes things, it’s what you DO about it. When I see something I think is unjust, I’m going to do something myself to change it, or say something to the people who can do something about it. And when I have done what I can, I’ll move on.

It’s time to delete the BATs and replace them with MVPs (Most Valued Principles) and a question: Can I Make It Better? (CIMIB). And, if I can, act on that, with my MVPs in mind. In a world where public discourse has devolved to screaming about differences of opinion and who has power, I’m choosing to ignore most of that. I will focus on what I can do to make this the place I would want today’s children to raise their children. Every time I have a real choice – like where I spend money or how I vote – I’m going to use that choice thoughtfully.  If enough of us do that, we can create much good in the world. And maybe even delete a few BATs while we’re at it.

With warm wishes for the days ahead. May they be BAT-free and happy.

Stay tuned for more on the Here’s a Quarter blog next week! As always, your thoughts and comments are always welcome – they are moderated (I know – adulting again), so they may take a little while to appear, but I read them all and appreciate that you were here. Thank you!

My story collection is available on Amazon: Dog Days . If you have a dog-lover who likes to read on your list, it may be just the thing! Chiquita is the cover model and I’d love to hear your thoughts if you check it out.

NaNoWriMo update: I made it to 50,000 word on November 30th with over an hour to spare! It was quite a ride. For a summary – check back for my next post. 🙂

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