However you choose to access your daily dose of news—whether through social media or from online venues or classic “nightly news” on the traditional big three networks—you’re likely in for a grim reality check most days. At least that’s what it seems like. Apparently, Michael Caine’s character “Alfred” from The Dark Knight wasn’t too far off the mark when he said, “Some (people) just want to watch the world burn.” I personally do not want to watch the world burn, nor do I think the world’s outlook is all that bleak. Call me a “glass half full” kind of guy. If you choose to look at life and what you make of it as a matter of choices, like I do, then I believe you can choose a more positive outlook and create better outcomes. Maybe—just maybe—if more of us were to look on the brighter side of things, to look at challenges as steppingstones, to look at differences as opportunities, to value relationships over money and possessions, then we all might experience a little more joy in our daily lives. Let’s see what I had to say about this topic some years ago by taking a little trip in the Barrel O’Monkeyz “Wayback Machine.” Enjoy!

Ice Cream Sundae for Lunch

These days we all seem to be in “crisis mode” 24×7, as though if we were to relax/lighten up for one second our lives would crumble around us. That’s just plain sad. I’m not suggesting that the country and the world don’t have some pretty serious problems (we do), but if we spend all of our time and energy worrying and fretting, like a bunch of agitated monkeys, then life’s going to pass us by. We’ll have solved nothing, plus missed out on a lot of living, laughing, and loving along the way. As far as I know, there are no do-overs.

If you find yourself in this kind of undesirable situation, maybe it’s time you make some changes . . . or at least take a step back, inhale deeply, and cut yourself some slack once in a while. None of us can live “under the gun” all the time and remain happy. It’s a surefire recipe for disaster. Sometimes you just have to do what feels good or right, learn to let things go, and simply live in the moment.

Someone forwarded the following passage to me. I don’t know its original source, and that’s not important. It’s the message behind the piece that makes it so compelling and so timely.

Ice cream sundae for lunch, you say? Why, yes please. Bring it on . . . and make mine a banana split!

One day, I had lunch with some friends. Jim, a short, balding, golfer-type who was about 80 years old, came along with them. All-in-all, we were a pleasant bunch.

When the menus were presented, we ordered salads, sandwiches, and soups, except for Jim who said, “Ice Cream, please. Two scoops, chocolate.”

I wasn’t sure my ears heard right, and the others were aghast. “Along with heated apple pie,” Jim added, completely unabashed.

We tried to act nonchalantly, as if people did this all the time. But when our orders were brought out, I didn’t enjoy mine. I couldn’t take my eyes off Jim as his pie a-la-mode went down. The other guys couldn’t believe it. They ate their lunches silently and grinned.

The next time I went out to eat, I called and invited Jim. I lunched on white meat tuna. He ordered a parfait.

I smiled. He asked if he amused me.

I answered, “Yes, you do, but also you confuse me. How come you order rich desserts, while I feel I must be sensible?”

He laughed and said “I’m tasting all that is possible. I try to eat the food I need and do the things I should. But life’s so short, my friend, I hate missing out on something good.”

He grinned. “This year I realized how old I was. So, before I die, I’ve got to try those things that for years I ignored:

“I haven’t smelled all the flowers yet. There are too many trout streams I haven’t fished. There are more fudge sundaes to wolf down and kites to be flown.

“There are too many golf courses I haven’t played. I’ve not laughed at all the jokes. I’ve missed a lot of sporting events and potato chips and Cokes.

“I want to wade again in water and feel ocean spray on my face. I want to sit in a country church once more and thank God for His grace.

“I want peanut butter every day spread on my morning toast. I want untimed long-distance calls to the folks I love the most.

“I haven’t cried at all the movies yet or walked in the morning rain. I need to feel the wind on my face. I want to be in love again.

“So, if I choose to have dessert instead of dinner, should I die before night fall, I’d say I died a winner, because I missed out on nothing. I filled my heart’s desire. I had that final chocolate mousse before my life expired!”

Hearing that, I called the waitress over. “I’ve changed my mind,” I said. “I want what he is having; only add some more whipped cream!”

This is my gift to you. Share this with your friends, including me if I’m lucky enough to be counted among them. Be mindful that happiness isn’t based on possessions, power, or prestige, but on relationships with people we like and respect. Remember that while money talks, chocolate ice cream sings!

Live well, love much, and laugh often. Be happy.

I couldn’t have said it better myself!


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